China has approved the import of 27 new video games, including titles from Chinese giants Tencent and NetEase, signaling a potential easing of the country’s strict regulations on video game approvals. The move comes as a relief for gaming companies that have faced significant regulatory hurdles in China, the world’s largest gaming market.
The approval of these new titles by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) is a significant development for the gaming industry, which has faced strict regulations in China since 2018. The NPPA was established in 2018 to oversee the approval of video games in China, a process that had been bogged down by bureaucracy and lengthy delays.
Among the 27 newly approved games are Tencent’s “Honor of Kings” and NetEase’s “Onmyoji”. Both of these titles have been hugely popular in China and around the world, and their approval is likely to generate significant revenue for their respective companies.
The approval of these games follows a recent announcement by the NPPA that it would streamline the video game approval process in China, reducing the time it takes for games to be approved from months to just a few weeks. This move is seen as a response to growing pressure from gaming companies and industry groups, who have been pushing for a more efficient and streamlined approval process.
China’s gaming market is the largest in the world, with an estimated 720 million gamers and revenues of over $40 billion in 2020. However, the market has been tightly regulated by the Chinese government, which has sought to curb the perceived negative effects of gaming on young people.
In 2019, China imposed a curfew on online gaming for minors, restricting gaming for those under 18 to just 90 minutes on weekdays and three hours on weekends. The government has also imposed limits on the number of new games that can be approved each year, as well as restrictions on content deemed to be violent or politically sensitive.
Despite these regulations, the gaming industry in China has continued to thrive, driven in part by the popularity of mobile gaming. According to a report by App Annie, Chinese consumers spent over $30 billion on mobile gaming in 2020, up 30% from the previous year.
The approval of these new titles is likely to be a positive development for gaming companies, particularly those that have struggled to gain approval for their games in China. However, it remains to be seen whether this is a sign of a broader loosening of regulations in the gaming industry or a temporary relaxation in response to industry pressure.
The Chinese government’s stance on video games remains cautious, with concerns about the negative effects of gaming on young people and the potential for addiction and other negative outcomes. As such, it is unlikely that we will see a significant shift in policy in the near term.
Nonetheless, the approval of these new games is a positive development for gaming companies, particularly those that have struggled to gain approval in the past. It is also a sign that the Chinese government is willing to listen to industry concerns and take steps to address them.
The Chinese gaming market is a critical one for gaming companies around the world, and the approval of these new titles is likely to be welcomed by the industry as a whole. With a potential market of over 720 million gamers, the opportunity for growth in China is enormous, and gaming companies will be watching closely to see how the regulatory environment evolves in the coming years.