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Welcome to Replay, WIRED’s roundup of the biggest news in videogames. The industry is deep in the throes of the fall release season, with a dizzying array of new titles coming weekly, but news is happening, too. It might feel hard to keep up, but that’s why we’re here. Let’s get started.
Epic Games Just Banned a Fortnite Streamer for Life, Which Seems Like a Lot?
If you play Fortnite, Epic Games has a message for you: don’t frickin’ cheat. Case in point: FaZe Jarvis, aka Jarvis Khattri. He’s a member of the FaZe Clan esports organization, a YouTube streamer, and, until recently, a Fortnite player. Why is he no longer a Fortnite player? As Kotaku reports, he posted a video in which he used an aimbot, which is a form of cheating. And now Epic has banned him from Fortnite. For life.
That’s a long time! Especially for someone who makes their living by streaming games like Fortnite. And, yeah, showing yourself using an aimbot in a YouTube video probably wasn’t a smart idea, but a lifetime ban is still a pretty extreme punishment. Banning people who use cheats to hurt other players is one thing, but that’s not what happened here. And it raises a host of weird ethical concerns. Like, should cheaters be allowed to grow and change their ways? Is there redemption in the hallowed halls of Junk Junction? For now, it seems, the answer is no.
A Congressman Called Out Blizzard for Letting White Supremacist Content Slide
Blizzard was back in the news last week, this time because US Representative Lou Correa (D–California) called out the company for allowing white supremacist content to exist unchecked inside World of Warcraft. On Twitter, the congressman spotlighted the “Enclave” guild, which is known for being racist and anti-Semitic, and which recently posted a message that referenced Charlottesville, the site of a white nationalist rally in 2017 that left one counterprotester, Heather Heyer, dead.
Correa told Vice the image he posted on Twitter “is just one example of how far-right extremists are infiltrating online platforms and videogames.” He added that “by allowing white supremacists refuge, companies inadvertently create safe harbors that extremists can leverage to recruit and indoctrinate other people while also degrading the enjoyment of their own fans.”
The Chinese Government Is Regulating Kids’ Gaming Intake to Curb Addiction
Bad news for young gamers in China: This week the government released a new set of rules stipulating that children can’t play videogames after 10 pm and can’t play more than 90 minutes of games on weekdays. The new guidelines also stipulate that microtransactions must remain below $57 per month.
As The New York Times reports, the regulations are an attempt to control China’s massive online gaming industry and the perceived social effects it has on the country’s young populace. Historically, the Chinese state has been fairly hostile to games, regulating them very heavily as a possible vector of dangerous speech and as a danger to young people.
According to Chinese officials, these regulations are most specifically aimed at combatting videogame addiction. “These problems affect the physical and mental health of minors, as well as their normal learning and living,” China’s National Press and Publication administration said in a statement.
Recommendation of the Week: Flappy Bird, on PC and Some Very Lucky Smartphones
Did you know you can still play versions of Flappy Bird online? Flappy Bird is strange, addictive, and cruel. Like threading a camel through the eye of a needle, the videogame. But there’s something remarkably soothing about its cruelty. The same simple, repetitive task over and over. Mostly doomed to failure, but with occasional thrilling moments of success. It’s nice. I’ve had a long week, spent a lot of time playing big, complicated videogames. Flappy Bird is a soothing, say-it-like-it-is friend in these trying times.
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