Titles featuring salacious mistress-collecting behaviour have fallen foul of China's state media propaganda department as it resumes accepting new games for approval. There's both a historical and a contemporary reason for such a ban.
China's State Administration of Press and Publication (SAPP) is to resume the acceptance of games for approval. The body, which is overseen by the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda department, will start taking new titles from April 22nd, according to research firm Niko Partners.
However, it seems the Party isn't too happy about certain types of game content.
SAPP is putting the hammer down on titles that feature Imperial Concubines according to reports from China. That's royal mistresses to us western barbarians.
Particularly in its sights is the mobile game Be The King. It looks god-awful to us, however, China's mobile gaming market is huge and such "historical" titles are popular. Be The King might be classed in the "Castle Builder" genre, however, it's quite clear from what we've seen that it's mostly about the collection and impregnation of mistresses.
And this is a rather sensitive topic in China. Last year, the Chinese period TV drama The Story of Yanxi Palace was a smash hit. And not just in China, right across Asia and even gaining some traction in the West. Full of imperial palace machinations as power-hungry concubines of the Qing dynasty back-stabbed their way into the affections of the ruler, the series tackled some pretty meaty historical subjects.
You might think that's excellent news for China - which while being the workshop of the planet and making money like crazy - has struggled to make any wider cultural impact on the contempory world, unlike say India's Bollywood or Japan's Anime. Well you'd be wrong.
State media, acting under the orders of party bosses, decided it didn't like The Story of Yanxi Palace, and accused such series of being "sinful" and encouraging pleasure-seeking lifestyles above "frugality and hard work". And if you know China, then you'll know that's a very strong "stop and desist" order from the Party.
The contemporary element comes from the penchant of corrupt Chinese bureaucrats in amassing mistresses themselves. This is something that has been tackled by the Party over the past decade, and as the country continues its anti-corruption drive, there's no doubt it doesn't want the "promotion" of such behaviour in any cultural output.
And so to games. Be The King won't be the only title in the genre of mistress collecting - where there is one successful game other clones are sure to follow. However, they are all finished now. Concubanned.