In the wake of the 7.9-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, the government mandated an observance of the tragedy. In addition to Monday's three minutes of silence in national mourning, the Chinese government placed a three-day moratorium on all 'public amusements' in the country. This imposed break extended to online gaming and virtual worlds throughout the mainland, which prompted some commentary by Frank Yu, the China Angle columnist at Gamasutra.
While residents of Sichuan or those with friends and loved ones in the quake-affected region were not likely to want to play games in the aftermath of the disaster, the three-day imposed blackout on entertainment media was an unusual move for China. The suspension of these activities essentially made the entire country give up something, albeit briefly, in order to share the pain of those whose lives have been affected by the catastrophe. "The earthquake has had another major impact on the China gaming industry as well in what seems like an exercise of government media control... This includes, concerts, television shows, movies and for the first time, even online games," Yu said. The virtual worlds of China's major online game companies remained dark between May 19th and 21st. Although the game companies and operators complied with the suspension of their activities, they clearly assumed substantial profit losses.