Nine months after the Chinese government put a freeze on all new video game approvals in the country, it appears that the freeze has finally ended. The freeze, which was implemented due to an internal government restructuring, severely hampered the growth of the country’s video game industry. This is due to the fact that publishers must submit their games to the government to gain approval before they can be published in the country. Now, according to the South China Morning Post, new games are finally set to receive licenses to be published in one of the world’s largest video game markets.
At the country’s annual gaming forum, the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department’s deputy head of the new State Administration of Press and Publications (SAPP), Feng Shixin, stated that “The first batch of games have been reviewed. We will hurry up to issue licenses.” According to the gaming focused research firm Nikos Partners’ Lisa Hanson, the first games set for approval will be domestic titles with foreign titles receiving approval down the line.
Feng followed up his initial statements by stating, “There is a big stockpile of games for review, so it takes a while. We will continue to work hard. [We] hope everyone can be patient.” Thus, while some games have already been reviewed, it still may take some time for them to receive licenses from the SAPP.
After news broke of the freeze ending, shares also shot up for some of the country’s biggest video game companies. Two of the country’s major gaming companies, Tencent and NetEase, saw their shares surge up 4.6% and 6.9% respectively. The end of the freeze also bodes well for Valve as the company announced earlier this month that it plans to bring a localized version of Steam to the country at some point in the future.