For the first time since lifting its licence freeze this April, an entire month has passed by without any new video game licences in China.
The streak has been broken after six months of select new mobile games being allowed, with October seeing no new titles permitted for release by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA).
Is a licence freeze coming?
When the freeze originally lifted this April, 45 games were released in China from companies such as XD Inc, Yoozoo Games, and iDreamSky. This came following a nearly nine-month stint of no new licences.
Between June and September, hundreds of new licences were issued by the NPPA but the National Radio and Television Administration halted unauthorised game livestreaming in the country.
As noted by South China Morning Post, the lack of any new game approvals last month may be worrying for some due to titles foreign to China needing a licence to launch there. However, October was also the month in which the Chinese Communist Party held a congress taking place only two times per decade, which is likely to have caused delays.
iiMedia Research chief executive Zhang Yi stated: "There is no need to worry about the immediate impact of a one-month delay, because there is a relatively long period between the granting of a licence and [launching] the actual product."
China’s gaming restrictions have been especially noteworthy this past year; Chinese megacorp Tencent shut down a service allowing China-based gamers access to overseas platforms this spring, and even since the lifting of the licence freeze, the number of games released has been significantly lower than in the past.
The government has also implemented limits on playtime for young gamers, and following these changes, China’s mobile gaming market is looking set to fall by 5.5 percent year-on-year as its first decline in two decades.