China’s new regulatory body has continued new game approvals with a second wave of licences.
Reuters reports that while 84 new games have been greenlit in the latest batch of approvals since the process came back into service at the end of December, two of China’s biggest players remain locked out.
Tencent and NetEase failed to make the cut in this wave of approvals - and neither managed to get approval in the first batch greenlit just over a week ago. The block on approvals meant publishers were unable to launch or monetise titles in the region.
This was a real kick in the teeth for Tencent, which was unable to monetise PUBG Mobile, one of China’s biggest mobile games.
It should be noted however that both publishers were able to get numerous licences approved in advance of the big freeze. They continue to dominate local charts and released a number of titles in 2018.
Thawing the freeze
China’s licensing freeze kicked off last March and lasted nine months. The cause is widely believed to be a government restructuring, alongside the ruling party’s desire to better monitor and control content.
Tencent infamously took a significant hit, losing $20 billion in value over the freeze. But the hardest hit were likely small developers, with less clout to subsidise the lack of local income with global releases and monetisation.
With the block now lifted, developers and publishers across the country can breathe a sigh of relief that access is opening once again to the world's largest market.