Chinese developers could be waiting another 4 to 6 months before the country’s block on new game approvals lifts.
That’s according to a government source speaking to The South China Morning Post, changes to video game licensing are likely to take almost twice as long to implement as the two-to-three-month period some analysts were expecting.
The block on game approvals allegedly began back in March. Developers in China need to apply for a license with authorities to release new titles, but a government restructure and reconsolidation has locked down any new approvals.
Whenever game approvals do begin to restart in China, expect them to come with heavier regulations. Games have long faced internal criticism from party officials due to their addictive nature and often violent/sexual content, but another issue may be behind this continued restriction - China has a real problem with short-sightedness (myopia) among children and teens.
The block has had a severe effect on the Chinese sector, which is normally a booming space for games. Mobile games, whose developer typically require a larger output of new titles, have been hit the hardest - with the long development cycles of PC and Console games granting them a little more leeway.
The block’s effect on publishing giant Tencent provides a good insight into how the region has been affected. The company’s value dropped a staggering $20 billion over a day, and flagship mobile title Honor of Kings is now far more restrictive on younger users’ playtime in order to comply with government regulations.