Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which saw a surge in popularity in China, has been banned by the Chinese authorities.
Although the game wasn’t officially released and distributed by Tencent, many players in Chinese were able to purchase a copy by importing the game overseas or purchasing it from e-commerce platform TaoBao, where sellers offer imported copies of the game.
After the ban was handled down by the Chinese authorities, e-commerce platform TaoBao took down all listings of the game from their platform, making it impossible for others to buy it now. The ban also affects the Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing: New Horizons Edition and other Animal Crossing related accessories. Even the hashtag, #AnimalCrossing, has been scrubbed off from social media platform Weibo.
Though the reasons behind the ban are unclear at this time, Niko Partners’ senior analyst Daniel Ahmad suggests that this could be because the game has become too popular and/or contains user-generated content too sensitive for the Chinese authorities. A similar ban happened a few years ago with Grand Theft Auto V.
Some speculate that the game was banned due to nudity and profanities, while others think it could have been because of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement’s use of the game.
Keep in mind that those who already own a copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons are still able to play the game in China. Those who have not, however, will probably have to rely on a global Nintendo Switch system’s Nintendo eShop.
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