Tencent Holdings and NetEase, which run China’s two biggest video game operations, received their first new game licences after a nine-month freeze by Chinese regulators, removing the cloud of uncertainty over these firms’ main revenue source.
The State Administration of Press and Publications (SAPP) on Thursday published a list of 95 approved titles that it reviewed on January 13, marking the fourth round of game approvals since the government resumed granting new licences in December.
encent, NetEase and Perfect World Games missed out on the first three rounds of new approvals, which tend to be granted in the order games are received for review. The SAPP has now approved a total of 352 new titles since March last year amid a government restructuring.
The new game licences are likely to ease market concerns over Tencent and NetEase, which both count video games as their largest revenue contributor.Tencent and NetEase did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Beijing-based Perfect World said it does not have further information to share.
The gaming approval hiatus and crackdown on content had taken a toll on the industry, which saw its slowest revenue growth in at least a decade. Billions of dollars in market value were wiped off major players like Hong Kong-listed Tencent and Nasdaq-traded NetEase.
Publishers in China are required to submit games for review to authorities before they can be sold in the domestic market. That process, however, was suspended since March. The SAPP – formed in April as part of a broader government shake-up – announced in December the resumption of the games approval process.
hinese authorities had earlier expressed concern over violent games and gaming addiction among minors, with the education ministry stating that it would “implement regulations and controls” on online games, explore an age-restriction system and reduce gameplay time by minors.
The biggest name among the latest batch of game approvals was for the mobile adaptation of Perfect World’s namesake, decade-old franchise martial arts online game. Tencent has exclusive rights to publish Perfect World Mobile from China’s No 3 video games company.