Twitch is Reportedly Blocked in China After Government Crackdown

Inside the competitive world of esports

Inside the competitive world of esports

Since 20 September, Twitch's website has been unreachable from the country and its app has been removed from the local Apple App Store.

Now, a Twitch representative has confirmed to Gamasutra that Twitch is blocked in China, but has yet to offer further details on why that might be or how long it's expected to last. This all happened after it skyrocketed in popularity, becoming the third most-downloaded app in the country. Twitch had been operating safely in the country for a while now, offering a fully localised Chinese UI, and this block seems to have come entirely without warning.

The website is also unavailable via web browser, as when users attempt to log on to the site, they are given an error message. Chinese theories on the shutdown are varied too, with Abacus citing fears of a general crackdown on gaming-related media, while others believe it was Twitch chat's fiery trash-talk that earned the government's ire.

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Early this year, the Chinese authorities stopped approving new games for sale. Since then, real name sharing and time limits linked to age have become a feature of online games with publisher Tencent implementing the requirements first. However, Abacus reported that official Chinese Asian Games broadcaster CCTV did not broadcast the eSports (specifically, a League of Legends tournament), despite the fact that one of the players to watch was China's own Jian "Uzi" Zihao. Could Twitch also end up requiring real name sharing as part of account logins?

We need Twitch to explain what the specific reasons are, but I'm sure the service is trying to remove the block if that's at all possible.

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