Thursday, June 30, 2016

China cracks down on mobile games

On May 24, 2016, State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television published new regulations requiring all mobile games to obtain license from the agency before publication.  On June 30, Apple notified Chinese game developers that they were required to fill in license number and date of approval when submitting games to App Store.

Obtaining a permit for game is a long and bureaucratic process. First, the applicant has to have a Internet publication license to even qualify for the process, which takes months to obtain and virtually disqualifies all individual developers and all foreign companies. Second, the game has to be be submitted to the government for approval. The game has to be submitted again if any content change is significant. After the game release, the applicant is required to provide stats about the game to the government as well.

This regulations basically banns all individual game developers and foreign games and creates significant obstacles to moderate large gaming companies. It lengthens the release cycle significantly and imposes strong censorship to games. Games that reference politics, history and any sensitive subjects basically have zero chance to get approved.