China ends 9-month freeze on video-game licensing

Commercial licensing had been on hold since March. (Bloomberg pic)

HONG KONG:  has ended a nine-month freeze on video games, approving 80 new titles for commercial release, the Financial Times reported, citing the country’s top media regulator.

Beijing has resumed the licensing of video games, the majority of which are for mobile phones, the newspaper said. Commercial licensing had been on hold since March. That month, the media regulator was folded into the Communist Party’s propaganda department during a government reshuffle, the Financial Times said.

Chinese gaming executives told the newspaper they expect it’ll take officials months to clear the more than 5,000 games that need approval — and that censorship of the games would see a significant increase. The media regulator published a list that mostly comprised titles by smaller developers and didn’t include any from Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. or overseas gamers, it added.

Tencent and peers from South Korea to Japan spiked Friday after the official China Securities Journal reported that regulators had reviewed and passed an initial batch of online games.

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