China blocks game streaming service Twitch after recent rise to popularity

Joanna Estrada
September 22, 2018

Streaming service Twitch is big and only getting bigger, and up until very recently, that was the also the case over in China.

The Amazon-owned service was gaining rapid popularity in the country and reached the #3 spot in the App Store last month. However, reports have surfaced indicating that Twitch is no long accessible to Chinese citizens, and the mobile app has been removed from the regional app store, leading many to assume that Twitch has been blocked by the Chinese government.

The website is also unavailable via web browser, as when users attempt to log on to the site, they are given an error message.

Twitch has confirmed that its service is being blocked in China though it does not know what led Chinese authorities to impose the restriction. No reason was given.

The surge in popularity occurred during the 2018 Asian Games esports event. The tournament wasn't broadcast by China's state broadcaster, CCTV, so many flocked to the streaming outlet.

What just happened? Another major website has been banned in China. The company didn't give any details about the service ban.

Twitch's parent company, Amazon, may be a tech giant in the West but even with its influence, it will likely be quite hard to convince China's governing elite to reverse the ban on the popular games streaming service. The most compelling of those is a link to the Chinese government's more general crackdown on gaming in the country. There was apparently a war of words with users during the Asian Games, which led some to think this Twitch block is a result of people's behavior and an attack on free speech.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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