Banned in Beijing: China cracks down on games

"Sims 2" and other titles are blacklisted in the government's quest to fight pirates and protect young minds.

The Chinese government on Wednesday issued a list of 50 banned video and computer games, according to government news agency Xinhua.

The list is roughly split between pirated games and games banned based on content. Pirated games cited by the news agency included "The Sims 2," the top-selling PC game in North America last year, and soccer game "FIFA 2005."

The remainder of the games were termed by Xinhua "illegally distributed foreign games," presumably for content. The list includes several games based on the Vietnam War, including "Conflict Vietnam" and "Vietcong: Fist Alpha."

Xinhua said the list was part of an overall crackdown by the State General Administration of Press and Publication "to protect intellectual property rights and create a good environment for Chinese youth."

"The administration has called for relevant departments across the country to clean up the electronic publication and software markets, confiscate any of the 50 games if found, and hold the publishers, producers and distributors of these games accountable," according to the statement.

China has banned numerous games before based on content. World War II game "Hearts of Iron" was banned because it depicted disputed territories such as Tibet and Taiwan as independent nations. The popular strategy game "Command & Conquer: Generals" was canned based on its depictions of the Chinese military and terrorist attacks on Beijing.

Game publishers and technology companies have eyed China for years as a potentially lucrative market for expanding the game industry, particularly Asia's booming online-game segment. But widespread piracy and government censorship have made it difficult for game companies to expand there.

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