China’s gaming regulator has finally given a green light on game titles from NetEase and a Tencent subsidiary after 14 months of cold-shouldering.
On September 13, China’s National Press and Public Administration released a new list of publishing licenses for 72 online games.
Among them is the sports game All-star Street Ball Party, a title developed by China’s second-leading game company NetEase. Nanjing Wangdian Technology, an affiliate of industry leader Tencent Holdings, also has its educational game Health Protection War approved.
While Tencent’s health game is non-commercial, regulators have continued to skip its money-generating titles or any of the major releases it has planned.
Beijing has consecutively excluded Tencent and NetEase in earlier approvals in April, June, July, and August. Until this April, the gaming industry as a whole was ailing over an eight-month hiatus of licensing.
Last year, China ramped up a crackdown on game addictions in minors and game content, dealing a heavy blow to the fast booming sector. According to Caixin.com, the industry saw revenue fall 7.14% in July to 20.8 billion yuan ($3 billion), the third consecutive monthly loss.
Tencent in August posted its first-ever quarterly year-on-year revenue decline of 3% to 134.03 billion yuan. In that, its domestic gaming income declined 1% to 31.8 billion yuan in the June quarter and 4% from the prior quarter. Nikkei Asia says this came from a combination of fewer game launches, reduced user spending due to COVID, and the restrictions on gaming time in children.
Tough homeland conditions have pushed both the Chinese gaming tyrants to seek revenues from the international front. Reuters reported in late August that Tencent had taken a stake in Japan’s FromSoftware, whereas NetEase took over French developer Quantic Dream.