China’s PlayStation Store Suspended, Fingers Pointed at “Xbox Fanboy”

One report to the authorities may have derailed Sony's China gaming market

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3:10 PM HKT, Wed May 13, 2020

On Sunday, Sony suspended its Chinese PlayStation store indefinitely — supposedly for security upgrades.

The shutdown occurred after an “Xbox fanboy” reported to authorities that the store’s customers could easily sidestep mainland China’s content restrictions by switching to the Hong Kong location, with some sellers on Chinese e-commerce sites offering the service for less than $5 USD.

A user on Weibo called senliyingsi said that they reported the loophole to the government, with a screenshot of their complaint to the Propaganda Department. Thousands then shared the since-deleted post, drawing plenty of criticism in the process.

China requires licenses from developers to sell their games in the country. The vetting process is strict — only 13 games were added last year. There are 124 games total in the Chinese PlayStation store, compared to the 4,633 in Hong Kong’s.

The PlayStation fiasco falls under China’s increasing crackdown on foreign games.
Last month, China ordered Taobao to remove Animal Crossing listings from its marketplace after the game became a gathering place for pro-democracy Hong Kong activists.

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