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China, a famously massive market for mobile and online games, has stopped approving games for release in the country, taking the typically complicated task of releasing a game in China from difficult to impossible in the process.
Bloomberg reports that officials speaking anonymously told the publication that the freeze comes shortly after an internal restructuring effort that shuffled power between departments, while another source noted that concerns have been brewing among regulators about elements of violence and gambling in games.
But the halt has been officially confirmed thanks to Tencent’s quarterly earnings report, with the company noting that the freeze has prevented some of its games, including PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, from being approved for monetization.
In a conference call spotted by Bloomberg, the president of the China-based game giant told investors that he believes “it’s not a matter of whether these games will be approved for monetization, but a matter of when.”
Releasing a game in China was previously a months-long affair that required publishers have each game vetted and officially approved for release in the country by the government. In most cases, games developers were required to jump through hoops to ensure that their games did not violate “socialist core values” heavily enforced by the government. Even PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the game that spearheaded the current battle royale craze, needed to be adjusted ahead of its official release in the country.