China has granted publishing licences to 60 games on Tuesday, only the second time it has done so this year. All 60 games are developed by Chinese companies, but none of them is from China’s two biggest gaming companies, Tencent Holdings and NetEase.
The 60 games approved by the National Press and Public Administration (NPPA) is an increase over April’s approval of 45 games, which also did not include any titles from Tencent and NetEase.
The non-inclusion of any foreign titles means that no imported video games have been approved by NPPA for China’s gaming market for at least 12 months.
The new publishing licences include titles belonging to developers such as Perfect World (Jade Dynasty) and miHoYo (Genshin Impact), the latter of which has now rebranded to HoYoverse. The approved titles are generally smaller-budget games such as Jurassic Army by Shanghai Eyugame and Kittens’ Courtyard by Beijing Object Online Technology.
The slowdown in video game approval licences in China is part of its ongoing attempt to curb gaming addiction in the country. Its state media once described it as ‘spiritual opium’, likening it to the country’s opium addiction in the 19th century which eventually led to the fall of the Qing dynasty.
In August last year, it imposed gaming time limits on under-18s, allowing them only one hour of game time on the evenings of Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. NPPA has also been more stringent in reviewing titles, causing an eight-month freeze on approved titles until April this year.