There's good news for some of China's biggest games companies this Chinese New Year (this Sunday) as the next wave of new licences have been revealed. And – as far as Chinese game licences go, this year is already seeing a much better start than was 'enjoyed' in 2022.
So far in January 2023 there have already been 88 online games approved by China’s video games regulator, granted publishing licences within the country.
Among the companies given new game licences are industry giants Tencent, NetEase and miHoYo.
Things are looking up
In China, games require regulator approval before being released. 2022 was a tumultuous year for gaming in the country, starting out with Roblox removing Chinese app LuoBuLesi and the continuation of a gaming licence freeze that lasted until April – when an end finally came to the almost nine-month pause.
However, that didn’t mean a relaxation of the rules; April 2022 was also when China issued new regulations prohibiting livestreaming unauthorised games. Likely a result of the stringent rules, by the end of the year Tencent had lost its status as China’s biggest company and the country’s gaming market had decreased 19.1 percent quarter-on-quarter.
Now, things are looking more positive. After 44 new international games were approved for distribution in China last month, there are now a further 88 video game approvals in January 2023, as reported by Reuters.
As for Tencent licences, titles Undawn, Alchemy Stars and Yuan Meng Zhi Xing were accepted by the Chinese regulators. Undawn was developed in-house by LightSpeed Studios, Alchemy Stars was made by Tourdog Studios, and as for Yuan Meng Zhi Xing, there hasn’t yet been much officially revealed.
Genshin Impact developer miHoYo successfully acquired a licence to publish Honkai: Star Rail in China, meanwhile NetEase received a licence for Chaofanxianfeng, a shooting game. The company recently refused to take Activision Blizzard back – a decision which may cost the latter its World of Warcraft licence in China.
Kim Soares of Social First highlighted at the start of the year reasons why mobile developers should be optimistic about 2023.