Asian Games 2018 was the first time in which Esports was included as a demonstration sport in Asian Games history. Since the state-run media did not broadcast the event, people had to find alternative methods to view the games. Twitch was the most obvious choice for many viewers as it is available for free and very easy to use. It quickly became the third most popular free application in the App store, thus gaining a lot of attention.
A Chinese tech news site, Abacus noticed that Twitch was not accessible in different parts of China recently. Later, Twitch was also removed from Apple’s Appstore. This confirms that it was not some unexpected error but an intentional move by the Country.
Seems like even a brief rise in the numbers can result in a website or application getting blocked by the so called “Great Firewall of China”. Most of the popular western applications like Facebook, Whatsapp, Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, Telegram and even Google are all permanently banned in China. Here is a comprehensive list of all the applications banned in China. This is apparently a cautionary step by China before something controversial happens. Nevertheless, this is neither good for Twitch nor for the Gaming community in general.
Apart from applications, China also bans various video games that do not pass through their censorship. Games that contain drugs, sexual themes, blood, depictions of organized crime or the defaming of the Chinese government are almost always banned from sale. Battlefield 4 and the GTA series are a few popular examples of such games. Most game developers create a special censored version to make their game available to the Chinese audience. Even the biggest Esports titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 have a censored Chinese version. The visuals look significantly different in the censored version.