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China Approves 31 Foreign Video Games, Boosting 2023 Total

China's video game regulator has given the green light to 31 foreign-developed titles, including popular franchises like Avatar and The Lord of the Rings.

China approves 31 foreign games
Credits: AFP

This approval pushes the total number of approved games for 2023 past the previous year. Most of the newly approved titles are for mobile platforms and include adaptations of Hollywood film franchises and anime.

Tencent Holdings and NetEase, the two largest video game publishers in China, have both secured approvals for new titles. They are relying on foreign games to help boost revenues in the domestic market, which has been experiencing a slump in the industry.

The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), the agency responsible for licensing video games in China, published a list of the newly approved imported titles. The list includes 21 mobile titles, seven PC games, two games for the Nintendo Switch and one title available on both PC and mobile platforms. Tencent and NetEase each have at least one title on the list.

Notable titles among the approved games include a mobile shooting game called Avatar: Reckoning, based on the blockbuster Hollywood franchise directed by James Cameron. Another notable title is The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War, a mobile strategy game based on the fictional world of Middle-earth. These games have already gained popularity in overseas markets.

China has a strict licensing and censorship system for the gaming market and foreign titles must be localised and obtain a license through a Chinese partner to legally generate revenue in the country. The latest batch of approvals brings the total number of imported games approved this year to 58, surpassing the total number approved in 2022.

Major Chinese video game companies, including Tencent and NetEase, are banking on global hits to increase user numbers and generate more revenue in the domestic market. This comes after China implemented restrictions on the amount of time minors can spend gaming.

In the first half of 2023, total sales in China's video gaming market saw a 2.4% decline compared to the previous year. However, the Game Publishing Committee of the China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association expects a "strong bottoming-out" in the second half of the year.

  • China's video game regulator has approved 31 foreign-developed titles, including Avatar and The Lord of the Rings.

  • Most of the approved games are for mobile platforms.

  • Tencent and NetEase are relying on foreign games to boost revenues in the domestic market.

Source: SCMP

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