China caps annual game approvals and introduces new regulations banning blood

Galtero Lara
Abril 23, 2019

China's newly formed State Administration of Press and Publication (SAPP) is introducing new regulations for video games this month, according to Niko Partners. It follows the authority's suspension of game approvals in February, which has frustrated publishers big and small as they attempt to get their titles into the largest gaming market on the planet.

This development will eliminate a huge chunk of China's video game market. According to Niko Partners, a video game research company in Asia, 37 percent of the games approved in 2017 were poker and mahjong related. There were 8,561 games approved that year. Certain types of games will no longer be approved by the regulator. "This will primarily impact low quality copycat games, which now flood the market, as well as poker and mah-jong games that have been targeted in governmental enforcement over the past year", the analysts wrote.

If a game is part of a series, this must be noted in the application.

When submitting a game for approval, do not include the version number in the title.

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Scaling back on violence, China will no longer accept games that show images of corpses or blood. This policy is now being expanded to mobile games with all publishers beginning to introduce anti-addiction systems across all of their games. TechCrunch reports that Chinese game developers are "devising methods to circumvent requirements" but this could have a very real impact on competitive gameplay where blood spatter can indicate a hit.

A major concern in the games industry is game addiction among minors. This will sadly wipe out many smaller developers, but those already embedded in the market will be grandfathered as the changes now only apply to new applicants.

The new process will also force games within platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and WeChat to go through the approvals process, just like any other game.

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