Over the past several years, streaming platform Twitch has grown to become one of the most popular websites in the world, but it just suffered a pretty major setback. The website has been banned in China, making the it latest in a string of restrictions focused on cracking down on gaming. As China is one of the largest gaming markets in the world, being shut out from operating there is a big blow indeed.
The ban seems to have come without much warning, with Abacus reporting that it’s been handed down on the heels of a period of quick growth for Twitch in the region. Twitch’s website and mobile app both became inaccessible earlier this week, with the app disappearing from the iOS App Store entirely. Details are still pretty slim at the moment, with Twitch confirming to Abacus that it has been banned but failing to elaborate on the situation.
While Twitch wasn’t quite as popular within China as it is in other regions, that was all changing as recently as last month. Many eSports enthusiasts in China turned to Twitch to follow the Asian Games, which featured eSports competition for the first time this year. That interest in the Asian Games helped fuel Twitch’s quick rise in popularity within China, so perhaps it’s not a surprise that it’s been banned following that surge of interest.
In any case, Twitch isn’t the first foreign website to be banned in China. It joins Facebook and Twitter, which have both been banned for a number of years at this point, and Reddit, which was blocked last month. Google is another site that’s been perpetually banned in China, but recent rumors say that the company is working on a separate version of its search engine that aligns with the Chinese government’s restrictions.
We’ll see how this all shakes out, but with the Chinese government’s recent hardline against gaming, it isn’t likely that Twitch will be back online soon. Stay tuned, because hopefully Twitch will have more to say on the matter in the near future.