China Issues Publishing Licenses To 45 Foreign Games Following Major Policy Shift
This marks the end of 1.5 years of curbs on the industry.
The Chinese government and its regulators are very skeptical about allowing foreign media in their country. They thoroughly review movies, animes, cartoons, and even games before approving their distribution in the country. They censor any part they deem unfit for the Chinese population.
They even go as far as banning the whole thing if the publishers don’t conform to their regulatory policies. Domestic games also did not escape the effects of these policies. But now it appears China is re-evaluating these harsh measures.
- China has issued publishing licenses to 45 foreign and 84 domestic games. It marks the end of 18-month curbs on the industry.
- Chinese gaming had suffered badly from these sanctions losing millions of gamers.
- It also fell several billion dollars behind the US in the race to being the world’s largest game market.
- The game market is expected to slowly get back on its feet after this recent normalization.
- Despite this Chinese as well as foreign publishers are aware that they will need to get used to China’s strict licensing policies.
As a result of this continued revision of censorship policies by the Chinese regulators, China has allowed the release of 45 foreign games in December 2022. It came as much-needed relief for the industry in China as it had been suffering from a complete drought of foreign game releases for 18 long months.
As reported by Reuters, Chinese regulators also approved 84 domestic games. In August 2021, China stopped issuing licenses for game releases in the country. It resulted in a major slump in China’s game industry. Before that, China had been eyeing for world’s largest game market, a place held by the US.
But after these curbs, China lost millions of gamers and was left behind by the US by several billion dollars. Owing to the damage caused to the market, the Chinese government started backtracking from these hardline policies. The first sign of this came this April when they resumed licensing of domestic games.
Tencent, the Chinese conglomerate, was one of the worst affected companies during that period. In those 1.5 years, it received only one license. But now, after normalization, they have received licenses for 6 games.
Of the 45 foreign games, the major games to receive publishing licenses include Pokemon Unite, developed by Nintendo in collaboration with Tencent, Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, developed by CD Projekt, and Valorant, developed by Riot Games.
Apart from Tencent, other notable domestic publishers to get licenses are NetEase, ByteDance, XD Inc, and iDreamSky. Even though the number of licenses issued is much less than in previous years, this policy revision will help revive the gaming industry in the country.
Despite the initiation of normalization, domestic as well as foreign game publishers are aware of the ground realities. They know they will have to conform to the strict censorship policy of Chinese regulators.
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