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Nearly 1000 games have been approved in China since the licence freeze

The State Administration of Press and Publications (SAPP) has continued its efforts to clear the backlog of video game approvals since China began handing out licences again last December, with its latest batch approving 97 new games. 30 of those titles were foreign IPs for the first time since the restart, pushing the total number of licences to 989 as of March 29.

Video game approvals were halted in China for nine months in March 2018, while regulators reformed the licensing process. The aim was to strengthen its stance against underage addiction, to ensure greater compliance with Chinese law and to keep a tighter grasp on the amount of games flooding the market each year.

Although it has been confirmed that the SAPP is approving games in the order that they were submitted, the entity declared that it would be prioritising domestic applications. Of the 959 games approved since the restart, Niko Partners states that a hefty 914 are mobile games, 40 are PC titles and just 5 are headed to consoles.

Foreign titles finally received some attention in the 12th and latest batch, with their official Chinese publishers being handed 30 licences, including Tencent’s Game of Thrones. Overall, this consists of 22 mobile titles, 5 PC games and 3 for consoles.

Strangely, powerhouses such as Fortnite and Call of Duty Mobile are still waiting for approval and might not even make China’s notoriously small foreign allocation for the year. Back in 2016, China approved just 227 international games, increasing the number to 467 in 2017. Approximately 55 foreign games managed to receive a licence before approvals were frozen at the start of last year.

The SAPP still has a huge amount of applications to work through however, meaning there’s plenty more headed to the country throughout 2019.

KitGuru Says: It’s good to see the regulator maintaining its quicker pace, considering developers and publishers have been suffering at the lack of intended revenue. Bigger companies like Epic Games and Activision can make do for the time being but this has been truly detrimental to smaller publications pushing the biggest market in the world.

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