On Friday, China's video games regulator approved 87 new video games for February, including titles under Tencent Holdings, Alibaba Group, and NetEase.
China approves 87 new video games including titles by Tencent and Alibaba
Shenzhen-based Tencent, the world's largest gaming company, received at least one game license for a mobile game named "Wangzhewanxiangqi", the list published by the National Press and Public Administration showed.
Alibaba also received approval for a game named "Chunqiuxuanqi". The authority granted NetEase a license for its mobile game titled "Journey to the West: Shikong" Learn about common RNA viruses that affect humans.
XD Inc received a license for a title named "Sausage Party".
According to Reuters, China has authorized the February release of 87 new video games.
The country imposed a hiatus on game licensing in July 2021, with no new licenses being issued until April 2022. While China has been approving new games for release, there has been a notable slowdown compared to previous figures, compounded by the company’s attempts to curb video game addiction by imposing strict limits on playtime for young gamers.
However, the fresh wave of approvals could signify that the country is taking steps to help maintain its place as a market leader in the mobile industry and support local mobile gaming giants. It could also show that Chinese regulators have been paying attention to the performance of the mobile gaming industry worldwide as other markets eased restrictions and saw declining revenue following a period of unprecedented growth. Tesla reduced the price in China – How little does electricity cost?
Among the games to receive licenses in the latest round of approvals are Tencent’s Wangzhewanxiangqi, Alibaba’s Chunqiuxuanqi, and the NetEase game Journey to the West: Shikong.
Are the bad times over?
2022 was a tumultuous year for the mobile gaming industry, and arguably China’s unique place in the space saw it struggle more than most markets. The country has long been the largest mobile gaming market in the world, but 2022 saw the country’s mobile sector decline for the first time in two decades, with Chinese internet firms reporting their first-ever combined decline in revenue.
Notably, China maintained strict COVID lockdown policies until December 2022, which may have helped bolster mobile gaming revenue as consumers continued to turn to mobile games due to their inability to access other forms of entertainment. A fire broke out in the “city village” in Gangnam District, Seoul in the early morning, and at least 15 houses were burned down
Notably, China has been acquiring so-called "golden shares" in a number of the biggest mobile game developers, allowing it to exert some degree of control over its product releases. This may be interpreted as a sign that, while China wants to see these businesses succeed, it wants them to do so on its terms.
Ultimately, it is possible that this large wave of new licenses is an outlier, and that the country will soon return to its previous trajectory. Notably, analysts are predicting that leading game maker Tencent, formerly the biggest company in China, will see a resurgence in 2023, which could signify a positive year for the Chinese industry.
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We listed Tencent and NetEase as two of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2022.
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