Apple will begin removing “thousands” of mobile games from the App Store in China. Come July, games appearing on the storefront that lack government approval will thereby be removed unless a government licence is obtained.
Developers and publishers have been notified that any game lacking the approval from the China government will be removed from the App Store next month, reports BNN Bloomberg. Currently, there are over 60,000 mobile games on China’s App Store. Roughly a third of those game titles, including Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto, have been published without the required approval from China’s government.
In February, Apple notified the developers and publishers to ensure they obtained the required approvals before the deadline of June 30th. China’s regulators have been known to have a slow review process. Having to review each game that is either paid or incorporates in-app purchases, there’s no telling how long the removed titles will be unavailable.
Rich Bishop, CEO of AppInChina, a company that assists in localizing and publishing apps in the country, spoke on the subject and said: “These companies will suddenly lose all revenue from what is typically their second-largest market after the U.S.”
China is no stranger to tight regulations. The government’s grip of restrictions has been coming to a head since 2018 as concerns over offensive content and addiction have resulted in a slower review process. The latest approval process took place in 2019.
With China’s government cracking down on some of the very few loopholes still in existence, companies such as Tencent Holdings Ltd. and NetEase Inc. have found solace in their own loopholes by attaching a single licence to multiple games. Many developers have gotten in bed with the two companies in order to bypass government restrictions. However, it’s uncertain if this tactic will last much longer.