This month, the Chinese version of the popular video game “Fortnite” will be shut down.
According to a statement on the game’s website, the game had stopped accepting new player registrations and was no longer available for download as of Monday. Its servers will be shut down on November 15, preventing players from accessing the game.
Epic Games’ blockbuster multiplayer battle game was released in China in July 2018 in collaboration with Tencent (TCEHY). Nearly a decade ago, the Chinese internet and gaming behemoth purchased a roughly 40% stake in Epic Games.
“Fortnite’s” most popular mode pits up to 100 players against one another in a battle for survival. The game has grown into a cultural phenomenon, with musical performances by Marshmello and Travis Scott, as well as three films directed by Christopher Nolan, taking place last year.
According to the game’s Twitter account, it had over 350 million registered players as of May 2020. It’s Epic Games’ flagship title, and the company announced in June that it has over 500 million accounts across its main titles and online video game store.
According to the announcement this week, Fortnite in China is a beta version of the game. It didn’t say why the game was being shut down, but thanked players for “participating in the testing of ‘Fortnite.'”
When asked for more information about the Chinese version of the game and why it was shut down, Tencent declined to comment to CNN Business. Epic Games did not respond to a request for comment right away.
According to Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst at Niko Partners who covers the video games market in China and Asia, the game was “never approved” by the Chinese government and thus could not officially launch and monetize its services.
“Fortnite” is primarily a free-to-play game with in-app purchases, which means that players can download the game for free but then spend real money on items like character costumes.
Ahmad added that the battle royale genre “has been strictly regulated in China.”
Recently, Chinese authorities have been cracking down on video games. In August, the country banned online gamers under the age of 18 from playing during the week and limited their weekend play to three hours.
Authorities had summoned Tencent, NetEase, and other companies to discuss restrictions on video game streaming and play among minors in September, according to state-run news agency Xinhua.