Chinese government approves games for sale again after nine months

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The Chinese government has released a list of approved games for the first time since July last year. It concerns 45 titles. Without these licenses, Chinese game developers are not allowed to release new games in the country; thousands of companies closed their doors.

The 45 titles were approved by the General Administration of Press and Publications on April 8, according to a page of the AAPP published this week. It concerns games from Chinese developers, although the names of giants such as NetEase and Tencent are not mentioned in the document. Developers such as Lilith Games and Baidu have received approval for their games.

It is not the first time that the approval of games has been suspended for three quarters of a year. This already happened in 2018, notes the South China Morning Post. The latest hiatus resulted in more than 14,000 Chinese gaming companies shutting down. Other companies, for example, shifted their focus abroad. Also, because the Chinese government did not provide information about the reason for the interruption or its expected duration, it was difficult for developers to plan. Those thousands of companies are not only developers, but also, for example, merchandise and advertising companies.

Even now, the Chinese government is not disclosing why games are being approved again and whether this will happen again next month. The Register notes that the number of 45 games is less than the monthly number of licenses before the approval was interrupted: about 80 to 100 games, the news site writes.

Games in China are heavily regulated. For example, in September, when no new games had been approved for months, new rules appeared. Game studios must remove ‘violent and obscene content’ from their games and prevent minors from becoming addicted to games. The studios are also no longer allowed to “focus exclusively on the pursuit of profit and game traffic.” In addition, minors are not allowed to play games for more than three hours per week. This rule was introduced in August.