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Chinese licence approvals are on the up this September, but just how high?

September matches top month of 2023 with 89 new game approvals
Chinese licence approvals are on the up this September, but just how high?

As we approach the end of 2023 (already?), it’s almost safe to say that this year has been a return to course for mobile games in China.

Whilst not reaching the highs of the pre-pandemic period, new game licences have been significantly more stable than in 2021 and 2022; compared to an eight-month licence freeze and middling numbers that even brought Tencent down a peg, 2023 can indeed be considered a success – regularly keeping above 80 approvals per month.

September 2023 has been on the higher end of the approval numbers, too, matching this year’s peak of 89 new licences in June and overtaking January’s strong start of 88.

New releases

Naturally, most of the approvals were granted to mobile games, such as Xindong’s Let’s Go Muffin, Yihai Interactive’s Boundless Existence and Guangzhou Huya’s Dragon and Home: Block World. A new Chinese-style green farming game from Perfect World, called Light Ink Cloud Village, received a licence for both mobile and PC versions, reported GameLook.

Notably, there has been no mention of approvals for new Tencent or NetEease games this month, though the latter is known to be channelling much of its efforts into its most ambitious project in recent years, Project Mugen.

Overall, the casual puzzle mobile games genre accounted for a noteworthy portion of approvals, representing approximately 18% of licences granted.

A recent Sensor Tower report revealed that of the top 100 mobile publishers in July, 37 were based in China and brought in an impressive $2 billion, thanks in no small part to Peak Speed. As for which games have been ruling in the Chinese market, Tencent’s MapleStory: Maple Legend emerged as the new top-performing product in August, and Battlefield Without Borders achieved $1.96 million in revenue within its first week.

Of course, these days, when discussing China there is a third big name in gaming: miHoYo. These big three all appeared in our Top 50 Game Makers list, with the miHoYo placing particularly well due to two smash hits in a row.