Battlefield 4 ‘Illegal’ In China, But It Wasn’t For Sale There Anyway

Battlefield 4 ‘Illegal’ In China, But It Wasn’t For Sale There Anyway

To the surprise of no one, China’s Ministry of Culture has formally banned Battlefield 4 — though “condemned” may be a more accurate term considering the game never was formally for sale there. Anyway, the game is henceforth “illegal,” according to reports from the country., one of the country’s oldest and largest online news sites, reported the ministry’s proscription yesterday, something widely expected since the game’s launch. Combat takes place on the Chinese mainland and the game’s principal antagonist is Chinese, though the story has him plotting to overthrow China, bringing it to war with the United States.

The reasons for the ban have more to do with “cultural encroachment” even though the Ministry of Culture’s statement says the game “encompasses elements that affect national security.” That’s communist-party talk for saying the game’s content will cause turmoil in the country or undermine whatever it’s teaching to its people.

“Cultural encroachment” is a bit of a different problem, something that has bothered China for a while, in which it sees the West using its media and entertainment to undermine Chinese culture and stability.

“The content of DICE’s game slanders the good image of the People’s Liberation Army,” says the statement, translated by Eric Jou of Kotaku. “The scenario of [Admiral] Zhang and his renegade general is particularly wrong; it is hard for many Chinese players to accept.”

Copies of Battlefield 4 were available in China through the grey market and still available for sale as of this morning. The ban probably won’t affect any grey market sales or have much of an effect on anyone already playing the sales. It for sure ends any chance of the game being sold legitimately in China, if that was even a goal for Electronic Arts. We’ve given them the courtesy of a request for comment and will update here if any is made.

China previously banned Command & Conquer: Generals on similar grounds. If you’re going to sell a video game there with government approval, the People’s Liberation Army had best not lose. Films seeking a Chinese release can’t depict the destruction of China or its monuments, with exceptions allowed for historical dramas that have been approved.

Battlefield 3 also was banned by a country where it was never sold openly: Iran, whose capital, Tehran, was the scene of fighting in the game’s campaign.

[ via Polygon]

Eric Jou contributed to this report from China.


  • I’d like to see a battlefield or call of duty game where america loses, but it would never happen.

      • But that was only a set-up for an even more jingoistic ‘Red Dawn’ insurgent story where the Americans are implausibly, the underdogs.

  • Things like this are exactly why “culture” should be kicked to the sidelines.

    It serves no purpose other than to hold people back. Sure, it might be fun to learn about, maybe even participate in. But it shouldn’t be the forefront of people’s concern.

  • It’s interesting how since we don’t/can’t really have “bad guys” anymore that story writers are cheating by using the “renegade general from (insert former bad guy here)” to justify having us continuing to kill Russians, Chinese etc… I blame Modern Warfare, though I have no idea who started it.

      • In Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, the ultimate bad guy ended up being American and the last mission has you shooting a TON of American soldiers. I know it’s a spoiler, but come on, that game came out in 2009 – if you haven’t played it, you’re not gonna play it and probably don’t care.

        • Doh I’m like two missions away from the end………lol jokes.

          shadow company?….i can’t remember fully but there was some betrayal.

          I’d like to see a full on ww3 scenario where America is openly the bad guy…they ran out of resources and are forcefully invading oil rich countries….prob wouldn’t happen though.

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