Livestreaming service Twitch has 15 million daily active users, but fans in China are getting blocked out.
Users began reporting difficulty accessing the service popular with videogamers yesterday across China, and Twitch confirmed to The Verge that it had been blocked across the country and removed from Apple’s local App Store.
The service had seen a steep rise in popularity ahead of the Asian Games‘ esports competition, reaching No. 3 among free apps in the App Store, which grabbed Chinese authorities’ attention. WhatsApp, Skype, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter all remain on the wrong side of the Great Firewall. (Though using a virtual private network, or VPN, can sometimes get around censors.)
Online gaming is a $33 billion industry in the U.S.; in China it’s a $38 billion industry, CNN reports. But last month, the Chinese government said it plans to limit the number of new online games and restrict how much time children and teenagers can spend playing them. Regulators have also stopped approving licenses allowing online games to charge customers money, bad news for Chinese internet giant Tencent (TCEHY).
In the spring, Russian authorities blocked millions of IP addresses belonging to Amazon and Google while attempting to take out secure messaging app Telegram, effectively shutting off access to Twitch. According to Twitchstats, 2.24% of streams are in Chinese and 6.55% are in Russian, the site’s third-most popular language after English and German.
Amazon (AMZN) (AMZN) bought the streaming platform in 2014 for $970 million. Twitch is bringing on three new female executives in the next month, a rarity in any C suite but especially in the tech world.