Freeze on games sees around 14,000 studios close in China in 2021

New games freeze expected to extend further into 2022

Freeze on games sees around 14,000 studios close in China in 2021

Since a freeze on new games licences in China, an estimated 14,000 games development studios have shut down.

As reported by the South China Morning Post, the body tasked with approving new games in China, the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), has not published a list of approved titles since July 2021.

With the freeze expected to continue into 2022, many smaller games studios have closed their doors and ceased operations. The current freeze is the longest in the country since a nine-month hiatus in 2018.

The estimated figure comes from state-run news outlet Securities Daily, which also estimated that 18,000 games outfits closed down during 2020.

A stringent process

The freeze followed newly implemented rules and regulations that prohibit under 18s from playing games during weekdays, with an hour allocated each day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

China's games approval process was further tightened in April 2021, ushering in the launch of its Game Evaluation and Rating Guidelines system. Under the new process the Chinese government is provided with increased control into which games can be released in the country.

More recently, Chinese regulators recently suspended Tencent from updating games or launching any new titles in Mainland China, with the ban seemingly overturned on December 24.

The past few years have seen Tencent continue to invest in overseas studios, including its acquisition of UK-based Sumo Group for $1.3 billion.

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