Chinese regulators freeze game approvals during an internal government restructure

Chinese regulators freeze game approvals during an internal government restructure

Game approvals have been frozen in China following a power restructuring among government departments.

The shutdown hits the Chinese market hard, as all developers in the region are prevented from releasing new titles.

According to a source speaking to Bloomberg, an internal shake-up of departments has caused the freeze, and regulators may be concerned by violence and gambling in a number of titles.

In spite of its position as the most valuable games market, China’s approval processes for online content is notoriously stringent. Sources told the outlet that The National Radio and Television Administration has failed to provide licenses for roughly four months, while the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has made the procedures for game registration far more taxing.

Both departments hold a position of power over the ability to release games in China but have faced restructuring as President Xi Jinping consolidates power. The industry has already drawn scrutiny for sexual and violent content, alongside a close proximity to gambling, and bureaucrats aren’t willing to take chances during the government’s leadership transition.

The freeze had put a pause on Tencent’s plans to introduce PC versions of Fortnite and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds in the region. The release freeze has played a part in the publisher reporting a five per cent year-on-year decline in PC revenue.

Smaller studios, meanwhile, claim they are struggling to survive without the ability to release new titles.

Staff Writer

Natalie Clayton is an Edinburgh-based freelance writer and game developer. Besides PCGamesInsider and, she's written across the games media landscape and was named in the 2018 100 Rising Star list.