Japanese gaming giant Sony has suspended its PlayStation Store in mainland China, the company said in a statement. The decision to suspend PlayStation Store is in a bid to beef up the online store's security. This will temporarily prevent Sony from selling games in China.
The decision to suspend PlayStation Store in the world's biggest gaming market comes at a time when videogame sales have been gaining traction due to the coronavirus pandemic. With millions of people staying indoors and left with not too many options to entertain themselves, video and online games have been witnessing surge in demand.
Sony to enhance store's security
PlayStation China announced the temporary closure of its online store in a statement saying that the suspension was in a bid to upgrade the system security. However, it didn't provide further details. Also, it didn't provide a reopening date.
That said, it is understood that the suspension follows orders from Chinese authorities to remove listings for physical copies of a popular Nintendo game from e-commerce platform Taobao. However, Sony declined to comment if the move followed such orders.
China is tightening security measures and stepping up regulations on foreign games. Recently, Chinese authorities also closed an Apple App Store "loophole" that allowed foreign game developers to bypass China's gaming license system.
PlayStation's struggle in China continues
China's strict regulation before launching any game has seen PlayStation and its rivals having a limited presence in the mainland. A social media on Weibo, earlier this month, said that he had reported the backdoor to Chinese authorities in a post. Following this, the post will heavily criticized by gaming enthusiasts in China.
Video and online gaming companies in China need to obtain permission from the country's regulator before launching a game. This is because Chinese authorities have shown concern over many games that are violent and have a negative impact on the minds of people. This has seen online gaming companies testing limited success in mainland China.
In order to comply with the regulatory norms Sony and Nintendo launched online stores separately for China with only approved games in 2019 and 2015, respectively. However, even then, Sony added just 13 new games to the PlayStation store in China. Nintendo was allowed to add only three games but that too in partnership with Tencent since the company started selling consoles in China.
The move definitely is in a bid to beef up security and to curb popular but unlicensed games such as Nintendo's Animal Crossing: New Horizons. China, even then, continues to be the biggest online and gaming market in the world. However, the decision by Sony comes at a time when demand for online gaming is fast increasing as most people are staying in their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic.