China permits first international video games since sector-wide crackdown
Chinese authorities approved 44 new international video game titles on Wednesday, the first to be permitted to reach the market since a sector-wide campaign to curb the gaming habits of children ravaged the market last year. As part of a broad campaign against major digital firms, Beijing took action against the nation's thriving gaming industry last August, imposing a limit on the amount of time kids may spend playing video games.
Additionally, fresh title approvals were put on hold by officials for a nine-month period until April, but since then, more domestic titles have been authorised.
The National Press and Publication Administration, China's gaming authority, reported on Wednesday that it had authorised 44 new imported games in December, including Pokemon Unite from Nintendo.
Separately, 84 additional domestic titles were authorised. The organisation typically authorises a few batches of foreign titles each year. In June 2021, the final approvals for international video games were handed out.
Tencent, a Chinese digital giant, received its first video game licence in 18 months earlier this month, breaking a dry period that had threatened to undermine its position as the leading game developer worldwide.
According to a survey released on Wednesday by the Chinese gaming consultant Gamma Data, the video game market in China fell by more than 19 per cent in November over the same month last year.
Although games are still regulated for politically inappropriate themes, the permission signifies an easing of China's stringent stance towards internet businesses.
In order to comply with government demands, hundreds of game developers made commitments to remove "politically damaging" information from their creations and impose restrictions on users under the age of 18.