China's Ministry of Culture has issued an order for the Chinese online game operator Giant Interactive (GA) to make rectifications in its free-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing game Giant Online.
Previous media reports stated that Giant Interactive Group had launched new functions in the MMORPG, including a bathing center and opposite-sex massage service. These new functions were seen by some Chinese netizens as quasi-pornographic marketing and aroused buzz on the Chinese Internet. After that, China's Ministry of Culture organized an investigation and said that there was no obvious pornographic content in Giant Online. But the investigation did report that these in-game services were counter to the mainstream values of Chinese people and were unfavorable to the construction of a healthy Internet environment. Therefore, the ministry sent a notice to Giant Interactive Group and asked the company to make rectifications within a limited, undisclosed period of time.
After receiving the notice, the company reportedly has implemented a self-examination about its game design principles and admitted that it did not give careful consideration while designing these new functions. Giant Interactive Group has taken several measures to meet the rectification requirement of the Ministry of Culture, including permanently deleting the opposite-sex massage service function and terminating the relevant subsequent developments; organizing designers to modify the exposed clothing of the roles in the game; punishing the relevant persons in charge and enhancing its management in the publishing of new functions. The company has handed in its rectification report to the ministry.
A representative from the Ministry of Culture says that it welcomes media and netizens' supervision on the Internet culture management activities to strengthen the construction of the Chinese Internet culture market, correct negative content and create a healthy Internet environment.