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China Licenses First Foreign Video Games Since Clampdown

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Regulators in China approved 44 new international video game releases on Wednesday, the first to be permitted to reach the market since a sector-wide campaign to control the gaming habits of children rocked the market last year.

Beijing took action against the nation’s thriving gaming industry last August as part of a broad crackdown on major digital firms, which 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.

Tencent, a Chinese tech behemoth, received its first video game license in 18 months earlier this month, breaking a dry period that had threatened to undermine its position as the leading game developer worldwide.

According to a survey released on Wednesday by the Chinese gaming consultant Gamma Data, the video game market in China fell by more than 19% in November over the same month last year.

Although games are still regulated for politically inappropriate themes, the permission signifies an easing of China‘s stringent stance towards internet businesses.

Hundreds of game developers vowed to remove “politically harmful” content from their products and put restrictions on underage players during the crackdown to comply with government demands.

Players under the age of 18 are permitted to play for up to three hours a week under restrictions that were introduced last year but are still in place.

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