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12 April 2022
Online games get reprieve in China
Gaming hardware & softwareGreater China
China’s regulators have approved 45 new online game licences – the first in almost nine months – but analysts don’t think it signals a significant easing of the restrictions that have been imposed on the sector.
The wider tech sector is under scrutiny as the government seeks to bring it under greater control. Games have come in for particular attention, with approvals for new games paused amid concerns over their effect on children and time limits set on how long children can play existing games.
Big players are frozen out
None of the 45 games approved by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) come from the country’s two biggest video games producers – Tencent and NetEase. Most belong to relatively small developers, including Baidu, XD.com, Lilith Games and 37Games.
A return to previous numbers is unlikely
Before July 2021, when new licences were suspended, the regulators were approving almost 100 games every month. Those days seem unlikely to return, according to analysts quoted by the South China Morning Post, although numbers may creep up. But there is no sign of when any more games might be approved.
Why it matters
Zhang Yi, chief executive of iiMedia Research, suggests the resumption of approvals is an indication that Beijing recognises the role of the gaming and digital entertainment industry in boosting consumption and economic recovery.
Sourced from South China Morning Post, Financial Times