China’s national broadcasting regulator released new rules on Friday that could make it easier for game developers to publish new online games, Reuters reports.
The new rules will see games undergo a content-vetting process with publishers encouraged to develop games aligned with China’s “core social values” and traditional culture. Also, the number of games allowed on the market will be controlled.
In March 2018, China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television froze approvals for game licenses amid a governmental reorganization, as well as concerns over violence and gambling in games, and addiction among young users.
Shares of global game developers—including local giants Tencent and NetEase—plummeted, and smaller players were squeezed out of the market, as China’s gaming sector grew just 5.4% in the first half of 2018, the slowest in over a decade.
Last December, the regulator began granting licenses again after a nine-month freeze in which no new titles were published, before asking local governments in February to temporarily halt game publisher applications so that it could process the backlog.
The administration will reportedly begin accepting new submissions on Monday, April 22.
China is the world’s largest gaming market, generating RMB 160.2 billion (USD 23.9 billion) in 2018, and with projected growth of over 25% to reach RMB 201 billion by the end of 2020, according to Beijing-based data consultancy Analysys.
The country is also home to two of the world’s ten largest gaming companies: top dog Tencent and seventh-placed NetEase, both of which develop their own titles and license games from global gaming giants like Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts in the US, as well as Japan-based Capcom and Nexon.