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Analysts doubt China will take six months to begin reapproving games

Analysts doubt China will take six months to begin reapproving games

September 13, 2018 | By Chris Kerr

September 13, 2018 | By Chris Kerr
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More: Business/Marketing

Regulatory changes are stopping developers from releasing games in China, which is understandably a concern given it's the single largest video game market in the world. 

Worryingly, a report from the South China Morning Post earlier this week suggested the licensing freeze impeding devs might even last for another six months -- but some experts believe it's unlikely to take that long. 

Niko Partners' analyst Lisa Cosmas Hanson -- a specialist in the Asian video game market -- claims the country could in fact start issuing new licenses sooner rather than later, and that the six month timeframe is the very longest it could possibly take.

"People are speculating that the hold on new game licenses will last another six months. The reason they say that is because the new agencies have six months to complete their reorganization process and get back to work," she commented.

"But, it is unlikely that they will hold off on wielding their power for a full year. These agencies want to exercise power and issue licenses - that is their mandate."

China claims to be clamping down on video games in an attempt to stamp out myopia (short-sightedness) in children and teens, and is restructuring its government and revamping regulations in order to do so. 

As part of the shake up, the Communist Party's propaganda department will reportedly handle all game licensing moving forward, though the ramifications of such a move won't be clear until the change is set in stone.

"The reshuffling of power looks to be heading in the direction of granting all games licensing authority to the Central Propaganda Committee's newly formed State Administration of Press & Publication, and taking it away from the Ministry of Culture (which has been changed to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism)," she added.

"Yet until games are actually licensed again, we will not know for certain. This is not a ploy against Tencent. This is not a staunch stance against South Korea. This is about a changing of the guard, for a reason unknown to us, and we need to wait and see.

"Meanwhile, games are granted greenlight month-long commercial testing licenses and Chinese gamers are still devoted to spending time and money on PC and mobile games."

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