The Chinese government has further tightened its game approval process - already among the strictest globally - with the launch of its Game Evaluation and Rating Guidelines system.
This works in addition to the approval process that games need to complete in order to gain an ISBN licence; a legal requirement for any game to be published in China.
That process was tightened up in 2019, causing a backlog that saw as many as 5,000 games delayed, awaiting approval.
As reported by Niko Partners, the new system launched on 1 April and is triggered once an ISBN licence has been awarded.
It requires every game to be marked from between 0 to 5 points across five categories.
- Value orientation,
- Original design,
- Production quality,
- Cultural content and
- Development stage.
If a game receives 0 marks for any of these categories from the two experts who review each title, it is rejected.
As Niko notes, the addition of this further step is expected to lengthen approval times for games.
Presumably it will also provide the Chinese Communist Party with even more control to effectively ban content it deems to run counter to its view of Chinese culture.
Even prior to this new system, games such as the South Korea created PUBG Mobile were reworked and renamed - in that case to Game for Peace - before gaining access to the Chinese market.