Devotion "Winnie the Pooh" Steam Removal

Devotion "Winnie the Pooh" Steam Removal

Part of a series on Internet Censorship in China. [View Related Entries]

Updated Jul 11, 2019 at 11:21AM EDT by Matt.

Added Feb 26, 2019 at 10:17AM EST by Matt.

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The Devotion Winnie the Pooh Steam Removal occurred in late February 2019 after the discovery of a poster that read "[Chinese President] Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh Moron" in the video game Devotion. Following a public outcry against perceived political messaging within the video game, the game's developers apologized and removed the game from Steam.


On February 19th, 2019, the video game Devotion was released on Steam by Taiwanese video games developer Red Candle Studios. Within days, players, particularly those in mainland China, began "review bombing," intentionally leaving bad marks for the game to drive its overall rating down, on the game's Steam page, citing the inclusion of an anti-Xi Jinping art in the game. According to players, the game features a poster of a Fulu talisman that is "the Chinese equivalent of having a stabbed voodoo doll" with the text "Xi Jinping Winnie the Pooh Moron" (shown below).[1] In China, Winnie the Pooh has been used in a series of anti-Xi Jinping memes that compare the president to the fictional character. Winnie the Pooh has since been the subject of a variety of internet censorship controversies as a result.


Following the discovery, reviews for the game saw a sharp decline.[2][3] According to Polygon, "In 570 reviews in English, the game has a mostly positive reception. There are 18,380 reviews overall, however, a majority of them bad (9,015 thumbs down, versus 5,841 up). That gives it a super-accurate mixed reputation on the Steam storefront page."

Online Reaction

On February 23rd, ResetEra[4] user Sushi Reese, explained why players in China were so outraged by the posters inclusion, writing that the inclusion of such material could get Steam blocked in China entirely. Furthermore, they note, that the game, which is set in Taiwan and was developed by a Taiwanese company, "successfully fooled the mainlander into supporting a game to 'mock [People's Republic of China] people and KMT [Nationalist Party of China] supporters (who tend to unify with China)."

Saturday at 3:01 AM #90 It is not just a joke. This incident may give China government perfect an excuse to block the Steam in China, or even worse, force Steam to pull off all Red Candles Game from the store At first, the game become extremely popular in the gaming channels in Chinese community. Most of the streamers stream the game, millions of viewers watched the game playthrough. The game also receive universal praise from the media, it even become a trending topic in Chinese social media. The public give extremely positive feedback. However, after some users from Taiwan PTT and gaming forum post some screenshots related to OP mentioned and mocked that the game successfully fooled the mainlander into supporting a game to mock PRC people and KMT supporters(who tend to unify with China)". It attract more attention when people dip deeper into the game.The anger transfer to outrage when people discover that the founder/lead designer's social media, he holds a pro-Taiwan independent political view and make quite a few political posts Banned Member Except for the photos of Xi, the dev staff also intentionally hided many elements to imply the condemnations towards RPC and mainlander Chinese. If you could understand the Chinese, datamined text and images from the game implies that cult in the game is陆心会(Mainland heart association) which means the association of people are in favor of PRC. Cult leader name is 陆恭铭/陆公民, which means "PRC citizens" in Chinese. The Cult Festival in the game is October 1st to October 7th, which is the Nation Festival of PRC. The list goes on. As more hidden messages are discovered, people start feel irritated and get cheated on

According to the Verge,[5] in a since-deleted comment, one Chinese user wrote, "The game developers truly disappoint me when they dare to secretly include such a sensitive bomb while selling their products to Chinese players who, at the very beginning, know nothing about those message until they are revealed as late as yesterday."

Red Candle's Response

On February 21st, the poster was removed from the game.

On February 22nd, Red Candle posted an "Art Material Statement," calling the poster's inclusion an "accident" that was never meant to be left in the game. Rather they meant to remove the poster before the game's release, apologizing for "the trouble it caused to everyone." They write:

"When making the prototype, the team often referred to the then known internet slang as placeholder. However, due to the version synchronizing problem, not all of the placeholders were deleted properly. This is purely an accident, and we have no intention for causing harm nor hatred. The said art material has been taken down and replaced at the evening of February 21. This incident indicates the fact that Red Candle Games’ project management has failed to function. As a game company, Red Candle Games has immense room for improvement. We are deeply sorry for the trouble it caused to everyone, and that we sincerely ask for the forgiveness of our players.

Red Candle Games take full responsibility on the art material incident.

However, two days later, the game was removed from Steam entirely. Red Candle Games said in a statement[6] that they pulled the game to complete a quality assurance check, as recent updates had caused a series of technical issues with the game. They cited the pressure from the "Art Material Incident" has led them to make extensive reviews of the game, making sure no other unintended materials was inserted in." The Facebook post received more than 11,000 reactions, 900 comments and 600 shares in 24 hours (shown below).

赤燭遊戲-Red Candle Games 17 hrs- 因為《還願》遊戲本體在部分電腦出現無法開啟與遊玩時偶有閃退的現象 我們決定先暫時將還願下架,並且重新進行軟體品質檢測。也希望各方可以 利用這段時間從素材誤植風波中冷靜下來,團隊也會重新檢查遊戲素材避免 類似的事情再度發生。希望還願重新上架到Steam時,我們能夠更加專注在 還願遊戲本身的內涵 Due to technical issues that cause unexpected crashes and among other reasons, we are pulling Devotion> off from steam store to have another complete QA check. At the same time we'd like to take this opportunity to ease the heightened pressure in our community resulted from our previous Art Material Incident, our team would also review our game material once again making sure no other unintended materials was inserted in. Hopefully this would help all audience to focus on the game itself again upon its return See Translation 11K 916 Comments 680 Shares

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