After the competent authority in China has not approved any new video games since July 2021, around 14,000 companies from the games industry in the Middle Kingdom have shut down. This is reported by the South China Morning Post, citing a report from China’s state media.
Typically the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) would publish a list of around 80 to 100 approved titles each month, but that had not happened since last summer. Previously, no new games had been approved for nine months in 2018. Although a total of around 18,000 companies from the games industry had already ceased operations in 2020, the increase in the past half-year was extreme.
Online gaming almost completely banned
China’s crackdown on the gaming industry is part of a bigger blow to the tech industry as a whole. There have been strict guidelines for online games since 2019, which were only allowed to be played for one and a half hours per day and three hours on public holidays. In September 2021, these harsh rules were tightened again significantly, when online games were almost completely banned for people under the age of 18. Minors are now only allowed to play on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, and even that only between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. The NPPA had already stopped approving new titles beforehand, and there is an official declaration according to the South China Morning Post not from Hong Kong.
The numbers now available on company closings make it clear what consequences the procedure has for the largest video game market in the world. However, it mainly affects smaller companies, including those that earn their money with merchandising, advertising and the like. The large corporations such as Tencent (League of Legends), NetEase and Tanwan Games, however, have laid off staff and are increasingly concentrating on foreign markets in view of the uncertainty, the newspaper still writes. Investing in the development of new projects for China itself, on the other hand, is becoming more and more difficult.