Regulators of video games in China approved 44 new foreign video game titles Wednesday, the first to be allowed to hit the market since an industry crackdown to rein in minors’ gaming habits swept the sector last year.
Beijing took action against the nation’s thriving gaming industry last August as part of a broad crackdown on digital firms. It also included a limit on the amount of time kids may spend playing video games.
Officials also put a nine-month hold on new title approvals until April. Although since then, more domestic titles have been authorized.
The National Press and Publication Administration, China’s gaming regulator, announced on Wednesday that it had authorized 44 new imported games in December, among them Nintendo’s Pokemon Unite.
Separately, 84 additional domestic titles were approved.
The organization typically authorizes a few batches of foreign films each year. In June 2021, the final approvals for international video games were given out.
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Tencent, a Chinese tech company, received its first video game license in 18 months earlier this month; thus breaking a dry period that had threatened to undermine its position as the leading game developer worldwide.
China’s video game market shrank more than 19 percent year-on-year in November; according to a Wednesday report by Chinese gaming consultancy, Gamma Data.
Although games are still regulated for politically inappropriate themes; the permission signifies an easing of China’s stringent stance towards internet businesses.
During the crackdown, hundreds of game makers pledged to scrub “politically harmful” content from their products. They also agreed to enforce curbs on underage players to comply with government demands.
Restrictions announced last year but still in effect allow players under the age of 18 to play for up to three hours a week.