Ever since its release, many players have fallen in love with the world of Genshin Impact and all its features. The free-to-play RPG has been on a steady rise towards the top. In fact, it’s considered to be the biggest global launch so far of any Chinese title, with over 21 million pre-registrations throughout different platforms.
Even though the game originated in China, it has found a huge audience internationally. This is why many players have been understandably disheartened when they found out that certain words like ‘Taiwan’ and ‘Hong Kong’ get automatically censored in the chat.
Senior Analyst Daniel Ahmad explains on Twitter why Genshin Impact has this kind of censorship. Ahmad points out that since miHoYo is a developer based in mainland China, it also has to follow the many rules and regulations that are being set there.
In these regulations, you’ll find a list of words and content that aren’t allowed, especially if they are considered to be a danger to “China’s national unity.”
The senior analyst continues his explanation by saying that even though these laws are required in Chinese games, they aren’t necessarily compulsory outside of China. As a matter of fact, this is exactly why Chinese developers sometimes create a separate Chinese version of a game aside from a global version, as these two will have different content.
Ahmad cited PUBG Mobile as a great example, as this battle royale was developed by a Chinese company called Tencent. Thus, words like ‘Taiwan’ are also censored out as decreed by the law.
Chinese developed games have to comply with a ton of content and in game censorship rules because of these laws and regulations
There is a list of banned words that cannot be used in game / via chat functions
Foreign developers also need to comply when publishing games in China
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) October 6, 2020
In line with that, this actually isn’t the first time that games have censored the word ‘Taiwan.’ Nearing the end of August, players discovered that the classic title Baseball Stars 2 had gotten rid of any and all references to both Taiwan and Taipei after it was ported.
In this case, ‘Taiwan Dragons’ was changed to simply ‘Dragons,’ and we speculate that this is most likely caused by the increasing political strain between Taiwan and China. From what we can see, Chinese developers are committed to following China’s laws and policies by regulating in-game content.
That being said, this situation goes farther than just in-game censorship. Back in 2019, Hearthstone player Blitzchung was banned by Blizzard for voicing out his support towards the 2019-2020 Hong Kong protests during a post-match interview.
Later on, Blizzard decided to reduce his ban from a year to only 6 months, and they even reinstated the money he won. However, Blizzard stood by their decision by saying that Blitzchung’s sentiments breached the policies that he agreed to.
It’s rather unfortunate, but it’s highly unlikely that miHoYo will be removing Genshin Impact’s censorship. For now, all we can do is sit, wait, and hope that the developers decide to release a global version so that players will no longer be restricted by China’s rules.
That said, the censorship doesn’t seem to be too much of a big deal, though, since more and more individuals have been downloading the game. In fact, the mobile version alone has had 17 million downloads already.