China approves 60 new game licenses in June, exclude Tencent and NetEase
China’s gaming regulator granted publishing license to 60 games, which is biggest mass approval of game titles for computer and smartphone after heavy regulation starting from July last year.
The National Press and Public Administration published the list on its website on Tuesday, which included miHoYo’s Keqier Frontier, Perfect World Games’ Black Cat Anecdote Society.
Other companies whose games received licenses included Jurassic Army by Shanghai Eyugame and Kittens’ Courtyard by Beijing Object Online Technology.
However, the list did not contain games developed by Tencent Holdings and NetEase, continuing the 11-month freeze for two of the worldwide industry’s biggest publishers. Tencent’s shares have slumped 34 per cent since last July in Hong Kong while NetEase fell 7.5 per cent in the same period.
It also did not include any foreign titles, extending the freeze for imported video games to 12 months.
The approvals were the second batch of licences handed out since the 45 titles were approved on April 30, the regulator did not publish a list in May.
China’s regulators have cut the approvals of licensed gaming titles, after peaking in 2017 when more than 9,000 titles were cleared to publish, which impacted Tencent and NetEase and put thousands of firms in the industry out of business.
China’s gaming censors have been particularly cautious when it comes to approves foreign games, with all imported titles censored and localised.
Roblox’s Chinese version, LuoBuLeSi, which is published and operated by Tencent, closed its server last December, while the global version of popular gaming platform Steam became unavailable on the mainland the same month.
The global Steam store had operated in a legal grey area for long time, games sold in China were not licensed by Chinese officials and many Steams’ social features such as discussion boards, workshops and broadcasts had been blocked for years.
Chinese gaming communities had been discussing the possibilities of the global Steam in China since Steam’s owner Valve announced three years ago that it reached partnership with Chinese gaming firm Perfect World for development of Steam China.
Steam China was officially released in February 2021 with a much smaller collection of games on sale.