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China approves 32 overseas licences including Nexon and Tencent’s Mobile DnF

While an unstable landscape for games, China continues to prove a lucrative one
China approves 32 overseas licences including Nexon and Tencent’s Mobile DnF
  • Tencent and Nexon granted approval for Mobile DnF after initial launch was planned for 2020
  • China's approval of 32 overseas licences offers optimism for game developers everywhere
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Just over one month on from China’s controversial proposal to ban gacha mechanics and "incentives" to play video games, the country’s regulators have approved a new game from Tencent and Nexon: namely Mobile DnF.

The go-ahead comes after years of Nexon’s search for approval, with the game’s Chinese launch first planned for 2020. Pre-registrations even took place in anticipation of the launch - with more than 60 million people signing up according to The Korea Economic Daily - but then the launch was cancelled and Mobile DnF had floated in limbo ever since.

Now that Chinese publisher Tencent has finally confirmed approval from the regulators, the game will be able to launch in the region along with 31 other overseas titles.

A sign of things to come?

The approval of 32 foreign titles demonstrates a willingness from the Chinese regulators to allow new games, bound to encourage many a developer disillusioned by the recently proposed measures. When a ban on gacha mechanics and more was first announced (and subsequently withdrawn) Tencent and NetEase were among the companies hit the hardest, losing a combined $80 billion in market value.

And this was only the latest in a growing list of Tencent’s woes; the conglomerate had already been pulling back on investments for years and even lost its status as China’s biggest company in 2022. Tencent has since axed development on a mobile Nier game after two years, and the company’s co-founder Pony Ma acknowledged the hardships openly:

"Gaming is our flagship business...But in the past year, we have faced significant challenges. We have found ourselves at a loss, as our competitors continue to produce new products, leaving us feeling having achieved nothing."

During these times of uncertainty Tencent has been buying back its own shares at a bargain price, at least able to take advantage of its drop in value to gain some more control over its activity. And with the approval of Mobile DnF, perhaps this is the beginning of a turnaround for Tencent. After all, whether stable or not, China continues to offer huge potential for mobile developers as the region remains at the forefront of the industry.

Stock prices are on the up again too, since China indicated an altering to the new measures, which will perhaps be withdrawn altogether.