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China Regulator Approves 95 New Video Games, Including From Tencent, NetEase

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China Regulator Approves 95 New Video Games, Including From Tencent, NetEase

China's content regulator on Friday said it has approved the monetisation of 95 new video games, including titles from Tencent Holdings and NetEase.

The games include Tencent's Journey to Fairyland 2, a 3D online game, and two others from NetEase.

China has approved 726 video games since December.

An almost year-long approval hiatus last year dragged down shares in companies such as Tencent, wiping billions of dollars off their market value.

Without approval, companies cannot monetise games in China, such as through in-game purchases.

Industry insiders estimate there are at least 5,000 games awaiting approval as a backlog built up during the hiatus, prompted in part by public concern about violent content and game addiction.

China approved 9,651 domestic and foreign online games in all of 2017.

Tencent, Asia's biggest listed firm by market value, has been reeling from increased scrutiny of online gaming amid calls to tackle child addiction in the world's largest gaming market.

The impact of online games on the country's youth has attracted scrutiny from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who last year urged all levels of government to implement effective schemes to prevent and treat the high incidence of myopia that authorities suspect is linked to game addiction.

China's largest gaming and social media firm has imposed a playtime restriction since July, allowing a maximum of one hour a day for children 12 years old and under, and a maximum of two hours for those aged 13 to 18.

Founded in 1998, Shenzhen-based Tencent enjoyed uninterrupted growth from when it went public in 2004 until last year when it saw more than $200 billion wiped off its market value from a peak hit in January.

© Thomson Reuters 2019

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