China has seemingly ended its freeze on new game licences and has granted approval for new games for the first time in almost nine months.
As reported by Reuters, licences have been granted to 45 games from multiple companies, including XD Inc, Yoozoo Games, and iDreamSky.
The freeze was first introduced last July alongside new countrywide regulations that targeted the amount of time under 18s spent on video games. The regulations included a limit on play time to three hours a week which was met with immediate backlash from the country’s youth.
The gates are open once again
The recently lifted licence freeze was the second longest since a nine month freeze in 2018 that lasted from March until December. The previous freeze was implemented as part of a restructuring of the country’s regulatory body that oversaw the industry and led to the formation of its Online Games Ethics Committee.
At the time this caused a backlog of new game releases as the country’s State Administration of Press and Publications struggled to keep up with the high influx of requests. It is likely a similar scenario will occur as the industry looks to recoup lost time as soon as possible.
Last year, 14,000 video game studios closed down in China, with many indicating that the licence freeze was a potential key factor in studio closure.
The games freeze also affected larger companies, such as Tencent, which saw its domestic games revenue increase only one per cent in 2021, in comparison to 34 per cent growth from its global games.