According to a report from Reuters that was published on February 19th, 2019, the Chinese regulatory body in charge of new game releases has put a hold on new titles due to a back catalog of games awaiting approval in mainland China.
Censored Gaming managed to succinctly sum up the article in a tweet, explaining that there is a back catalog of games that need to be approved for release in China, and so the state regulatory body has closed off new submissions for now.
China has halted all new video game approvals again, following only just resuming operation in December after a 9 month freeze. This is said to be due to a the backlog of games awaiting approval being too big and internal adjustments needing to be made https://t.co/fCL81Ib0VY pic.twitter.com/hxzlXwTxxX
— Censored Gaming (@CensoredGaming_) February 22, 2019
In the Reuters article, it states that one of the companies who were informed about the restriction on new submissions told them…
“The regulator asked local authorities to stop submitting applications because there is too much of a backlog for it to deal with at the moment,”
According to Reuters, the total amount of games awaiting approval comes up to over 5,000. This came after China re-opened submissions back in December of 2018 after they originally closed down new game submissions throughout most of 2018, which severely hampered some of Tencent’s biggest acquisitions that they had plans on distributing in the mainland, including Monster Hunter: World and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
The Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China and the General Administration of Press and Publications have basically issued the notice to companies privately, and have not made any public statements about it, yet. Both departments also declined to comment about the new restrictions put into place.
Stock prices took a dive in light of the news.
The GAPP is reportedly set approve 2,000 through 3,000 titles in 2019, after only approving 538 games in December of 2018, according to Jefferies analyst Karen Chan.
The reason for the limited release of games in mainland China is because the country has very strict laws when it comes to content released for the general populace. The 10 Rules of Censorship basically prevents most Western-made games from making an appearance in the mainland without undergoing heavy scrutiny and modifications to comply with China’s laws. PUBG Corporation teamed up with Tencent in order to get PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds released in China, but due to the regulatory block at the moment, the game has been held up for a year.
I imagine the folks at Tencent can’t be too happy, but anything that makes Tencent unhappy will likely make most Western gamers smile with glee.
(Thanks for the news tip zac za)