China approves 115 video games for January, the most in 18 months, in supportive sign after December market rout

China approves 115 video games for January, the most in 18 months, in supportive sign after December market rout

China approves 115 video games for January, the most in 18 months, in supportive sign after December market rout

China approved 115 new video game titles in the first month of 2024, the largest batch of approvals in 18 months, in a supportive gesture to the industry.

Among this month’s approvals is a mobile game Tencent developed in collaboration with the American sport league National Basketball Association (NBA), which has a dedicated following in China, according to the list published on Friday by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA). Re Xue Mei Zhi Lan, which translates roughly as Hot-Blooded NBA, appears similar to NBA Infinite, which Tencent developed for overseas markets.

Chinese regulators retract gaming rule proposal after stock market turmoil

Other major local developers who had games approved this month include Lilith Games, Shenzhen Zhongqingbaowang Network Technology, and 37 Interactive Entertainment.

The accelerated pace for granting more video game licences in the last two months comes as Beijing looks to shore up confidence in the sector. Last month’s draft regulation, which included a cap on user spending in games and a ban on “excessive” rewards to lure in users, was followed by a plunge in stock values, wiping out as much as US$63 billion in value from Tencent and NetEase alone at one point.

Chinese listed gaming firms listed in Shanghai, Hong Kong or the US have collectively lost about US$80 billion in value since the draft was published.

After the market tumult, a key official involved in overseeing the country’s video gaming market was removed, the Post reported earlier. The NPPA took the proposed regulation off its website on Tuesday.

The NPPA had initially justified the proposal as an effort to promote the “healthy development” of the gaming sector. The regulator said it would heed public opinion in revisions.

A total of 1,076 titles received licences in 2023 for release to the world’s largest video games market, double the 512 titles approved the previous year, when the industry was recovering from an eight-month licensing freeze. Beijing has since eased up on its crackdowns on technology firms as it looks to bolster economic growth amid a slow post-Covid recovery.

Video game consultancy Niko Partners expects the Chinese gaming market to continue to grow this year on a combination of factors, including new game launches driven by the normalisation of approvals and the integration of artificial intelligence.

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