The China games license freeze has caused chaos for the local industry as publishers and consumers struggle with the government putting a blanket ban on approvals. News of this ban comes hot on the heels of China’s removal of Monster Hunter World from WeGame a few days ago. While it’s anticipated that Tencent will be able to ride out the government’s current chokehold on the industry, smaller conglomerates may not be as lucky.
Monster Hunter World was apparently removed for having content that was objectionable. It’s looking like the reason behind China’s games license freeze is similar. Chinese authorities have been said to be undergoing bureaucratic changes, and the already-shaky status of games consumers in the country is now becoming more precarious.
China has had a history of issues with games that have been popular with Western markets. It was only in 2015 that China lifted its ban on buying, selling, and using consoles. There are often heavy changes made to games in order to allow them to be sold in China, and these changes are often to do with altering graphics significantly depending on what they’re depicting. World of Warcraft and Dota, amongst other titles, have had skeletons and blood censored for consumption in China”
Despite the above, mobile gaming remains extremely popular in China, and mobile publishers could well be feeling the heat when approvals for game licenses slows to a crawl. A Citigroup representative told The National that games that haven’t been approved yet would likely be forced to wait.
With the license freeze in place, the likes of Tencent and other companies that have lucrative partnerships with Western organizations like Blizzard have been seeing an impact on stock values. In the past day, Tencent Holdings Limited has seen a 3.04% dip in its stock on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The longer China’s game license freeze continues, the more adverse the potential impact on the companies that occupy the country’s currently isolated industry.