China's game regulator approves 86 new games including Mobile Legends: Bang Bang

The game is immensely popular in Southeast Asia

China's game regulator approves 86 new games including Mobile Legends: Bang Bang

China's video game licencing freeze seems well and truly over for the time being, as 86 new licences were granted today including Moonton's Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.

According to China's NPPA (Via Afkgaming & Daniel Ahmad) the licenses were part of the April 2023 batch of 86 approved titles. Most prominent amongst them being Moonton's Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. The title is a major hit in Southeast Asia and also recently found itself at the centre of a legal battle between Tencent and ByteDance, via their subsidiary Moonton. Tencent alleged that the title had infringed on their intellectual property concerning two similar MOBA titles, Honor of Kings and Arena of Valor - Tencent would lose the case.

ByteDance would go on to launch their own claim at Tencent, claiming copyright infringement in a case that at the moment seems to be ongoing. However, Mobile Legends' launch in China represents both another symbol of the lessening grip that Chinese regulators have held on gaming in the country and of a potential direct challenge to one of Tencent's largest franchises.

Honorless Kings

Tencent has recently been pushing many China-only mobile titles out to the rest of the world. In particular, Honor of Kings. Arguably China's most successful mobile game, it regularly tops the charts for monthly active users and consumer spend. Therefore, Mobile Legends represents a direct challenge, one which might not seem that way until you consider how ByteDance and Tencent were both engaged in a bidding war to acquire Moonton.

Tencent has regularly enjoyed the status of China's largest video game company, and it clearly saw potential and a threat in Moonton's title. Competition may be good for players and developers but given that Honor of Kings - despite strong initial performance - is yet to take countries like Brazil by storm, Tencent will be eager to hold onto the market dominance they have in their home nation. Something which Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, threatens to upset.

Staff Writer

Iwan is a Cardiff-based freelance writer, who joined the Pocket Gamer Biz site fresh-faced from University before moving to the editorial team in November of 2023.