In the first half of 2023, China has officially surpassed its game licence approval numbers from the whole of 2022.
A total of 89 new games have been approved by the National Press and Publication Administration this June, maintaining recent momentum and rising to the most approvals for any month this year. Furthermore, only one mobile game licence request was not approved.
Six months of gaming
Getting a game licenced in China had become a turbulent task in recent years, with a complete freeze on approvals having lasted almost nine months from 2021 into 2022. Last October then saw no new approvals once again, raising fears that the thaw was only temporary. However, it is now clear that China’s approach is changing, with licence approvals having been particularly consistent this year.
This became apparent early in spring after 88 new licences in January, 87 new approvals in February, and 86 in March. Reaching beyond 250 new licences in that time, the country has proceeded to double its numbers for the year to more than 500 in the three months since.
As reported by South China Morning Post, the total number of new domestic licences last year only reached 466. While 500 plus is looking good for 2023 comparatively, it is still a far cry from the approvals of old, with pre-pandemic numbers having reached well over 1,000.
The 89 new June licences include games from NetEase, Yoozoo, Shenzhen Zhongqingbao, Lilith Games and more.
Notably, gaming giant Tencent is absent from the list once again, although the company recently revealed its revenue has increased by 11 per cent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2023 nonetheless. Tencent has also been demonstrating its new focus on international releases, such as Street Fighter: Duel finally having arrived in the West this February.
Final Fantasy developer Square Enix is another company we hope to see more Western releases from.