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China's video game licensing freeze could last another six months

The Chinese government is tightening video game restrictions in what it claims is an attempt to combat myopia in children and teenagers.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

September 10, 2018

1 Min Read

China's clamp down on video game licenses could last for another six months, according to the South China Morning Post

The Chinese government has stopped approving licenses for new titles as it looks to tighten video game restrictions in an apparent attempt to combat myopia (short-sightedness) in children, with the ministry of education suggesting the visual impairment is linked to a rise in smartphones and electronic devices. 

It's a decision that's made it near-impossible to release new titles in the country, and while the government reportedly intends to grant the Communist Party propaganda department the ability to issue new licenses, implementing the change could still take between four to six months.

The restructuring process has already had a significant impact, with the Chinese video game market having just witnessed its slowest first-half growth in a decade.

Even big names like Tencent have been affected, with the Chinese tech giant having failed to gain approval to monetize uber-popular shooter PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, while also suffering a share drop of 5 percent. 

Tencent president Martin Lau had previously claimed "it’s not a matter of whether these games will be approved for monetization, but a matter of when." Now, it seems like 'when' might be later, rather than sooner.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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