Briefing: Minecraft Chinese version censured for vulgar content

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上海“扫黄打非”部门约谈《我的世界》游戏运营公司 – NOAPIP

What happened: The Shanghai office of the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications (NOAPIP) summoned the publisher of Minecraft, NetEase, on Wednesday after China Central Television Station (CCTV) said the game was spreading vulgar and pornographic content to minors. The NOAPIP announcement does not specify the details of the ban, but according to the CCTV report, some users have been naming their “rooms”—servers where users play each other—using sexually explicit descriptions. NetEase disabled the ability to name “rooms” on Apr. 12, moved the reporting function to a more conspicuous spot in the game, and pledged to step up content monitoring.

Why it’s important: NOAPIP’s censure of the game Minecraft, which features a pixelated art style and gameplay that revolves around discovering and building, highlights the intensity of the new wave of content crackdown that began earlier this month. Although NetEase already has a number of filters in place that detect sensitive phrases, they don’t seem to be sufficient for NOAPIP. The next few months could potentially bring more game publishers summoned by the NOAPIP for non-compliant content related to in-game text.