China launches new rules to the game approvals

People who play online games at an internet cafe in Fuyang, Anhui province, China August 20, 2018. Photo taken on August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s press and publication regulator has issued new rules on applications for the publishing of online games in China, signaling a possible acceleration in the distribution of formal approval.

China stopped granting licenses to earn money with online games in March 2018, hurting the industry and developers such as Tencent Holdings Ltd and NetEase Inc. It started up approvals in December, only to ask local governments to pause on the submission of applications in February.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television released the new rules late on Friday.

According to the guidelines, games will have to undergo contents of investigations and the number of games allowed on to the market will be operated.

Gaming market research and consulting firm Niko said the administration had explained the new rules for insiders earlier in the month, saying that the grinding due to a backlog of applications from last year.

Chinese publishers were encouraged to develop titles with China’s “core social values” in mind, including games that promote the traditional culture, Niko said.

Niko said that the government will take new entries from Monday, April 22, under the new application process.

“With a new, more transparent approval process set to go live soon, we have a positive outlook for China’s digital games market in 2019,” he said.

Reporting by John Ruwitch and Li Pei; Editing by Nick Macfie

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