China grants licences to 27 foreign online games in second batch approval

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20th March 2023 – (Hong Kong) China’s online gaming regulator has granted licences to 27 foreign online games in the second batch of approvals, which includes titles published by Tencent Holdings and NetEase. The National Press and Publication Administration released the list of approved games on Monday, which features at least one game to be published by Tencent called Merge Mansion, and one mobile game named Audition: Everybody Party from NetEase.

This second batch of approvals comes just three months after the first batch was approved in December, ending China’s crackdown on the video game industry that began in August 2022 when regulators suspended the game approval process. The crackdown was an attempt to curb gaming addiction among young people and the negative impact on their health and academic performance.

After an 18-month halt, regulators resumed issuing licenses for homegrown games in April, followed by the approval of imported games last December, signalling the end of China’s crackdown on the industry. The latest batch of approvals reflects the country’s continued efforts to regulate the gaming industry while still allowing for growth and innovation.

In addition to Merge Mansion and Audition: Everybody Party, other notable titles approved by China include Fairy Tale: Fighting, a mobile game, and Yo-kai Watch 4, a console game. These titles, along with the other approved games, represent a diverse range of genres and platforms that cater to different gaming preferences.

However, despite the approvals, foreign game developers still face challenges when entering the Chinese market. The approval process is rigorous and can take months, and games must comply with strict regulations on content and censorship. Additionally, the market is heavily dominated by domestic companies such as Tencent and NetEase, making it difficult for foreign developers to gain a foothold.