China opens foreign games approvals as addiction worries ease

China opens foreign games approvals as addiction worries ease

For the first time in 18 months, China's regulatory body has approved foreign games for launch in the country.

That's according to the South China Morning Post, which reports that 44 titles from abroad were given the nod for release in the region by The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), including Riot's Valorant. This was part of a tranche of approvals that included 84 games from local developers.

Overall, China's NPPA gave the nod to 512 titles during 2022, of which the majority – 468 – were made by local studios. This is a massive reduction on the number of games given approval during both 2021 and 2022.

Another factor that might help China's games industry is the changing of narrative surrounding public health concerns related to video games. Previously, the government-linked publication Economic Information Daily described the medium as "spiritual opium".

Now games are viewed as an important business rather than a health crisis – another government-tied outlet, The People's Daily described the sector as having “great significance to the country’s industrial layout and technological innovation” back in November. This came around the time that China's games trade body said that addiction amongst minors was "basically solved".

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.