China Blocks Game-Streaming App Twitch
The video game streaming app, Twitch, has just been blocked in China. Since September 20, Twitch's official website has been unreachable from China, and its app has been taken down from the Chinese App Store.
Twitch has confirmed that it is being blocked but has not made any explanations on why the Chinese authorities have imposed such a restriction. Currently, both Twitch’s website and streaming services are unavailable in China.
Last month, Twitch’s popularity surged in China because of its coverage of eSports events during the Asian Games. So many Chinese audience flocked to the Twitch app that it rose to the third spot in the free apps charts.
The block is believed to have happened earlier this week, when some users began reporting that the website wasn't loading. Now with the block confirmed, Chinese users are furious and have begun speculating about the reasons for the ban. Many believe the Twitch ban is merely a part of the Chinese government's more general crackdown on gaming.
Shannon Liao, reporter from The Verge, also suggested that the block was a “cautionary measure” that Chinese authorities regularly applied to popular Western platforms. Often, according to Liao, these bans and blocks are put in place as a preventative measure before anything controversial takes place.
Indeed, this is not the first time that Chinese authorities have blocked access to a Western service after it has gained much popularity with Chinese customers. The social media networks Facebook and Twitter have also been banned in China, and Google has not operated in China for eight years. Amazon, Twitch’s parent company, may be a tech giant in the West, but even with Amazon’s influence, it is unlikely that the Chinese government will reverse its ban on the popular streaming service.