China Introduces New Game Approval Process This Month

CREDIT Tencent

CREDIT Tencent

A regulatory body reshuffle in March 2018 led to new game license approvals being put on hold in China for nine months.

Gaining access to China's gaming market, the largest in the world, can be a windfall for developers.

KitGuru Says: This will be a particularly large blow to those that submitted a game a year ago but will now be rejected for not meeting newly implemented guidelines. Certain types of games will no longer be approved by the regulator. According to Niko Partners, a video game research company in Asia, 37 percent of the games approved in 2017 were poker and mahjong related. According to a report by analyst firm Niko Partners, that means games must not depict dead bodies or pools of blood, and must contain "correct information regarding history, politics and law". "This will primarily impact low quality copycat games, which now flood the market, as well as poker and mah-jong games that have been targeted in governmental enforcement over the past year", the analysts wrote.

If an online game has offline content, the application must indicate that and explain the offline content. This policy is now being expanded to mobile games with all publishers beginning to introduce anti-addiction systems across all of their games. Several genres have now been banned, along with any titles that show images of corpses and blood, even if the latter is a color other than red.

Publishers no longer need to submit a paper copy of the "banned words list" for each game, a digital version of the list is sufficient. "Mini games that have already launched are required to apply for a license from the SAPP at the provincial level within 10 days to continue operation", Niko Partners wrote.

As the government approval process resumed, they announced that those video games that were centered around gambling activities would no longer be granted licenses.