Rumors about a possible “delay in new game licences” in China went viral on Thursday. Various media outlets including South China Morning Post reported that Chinese regulators intended to slow their approval of new online games, following the recent introduction of stringent new rules on the industry.
Seemingly in accordance with the speculation is the fact that a new list of approved games was not issued as scheduled in August this year, breaking the practice of issuing a batch of new online games every month since May 2019.
However, according to some prominent industry insiders, the requirements raised by Chinese regulators when interviewing several leading game companies on Wednesday did not include a halt in the issuing of new game licences.
Ding Lei, founder of domestic Internet technology company NetEase, denied the rumors, saying that the Thursday report was false.
Up to now, Chinese regulators have not yet released information to dispel the rumors, but gaming shares have all fallen. Tencent Holdings and Bilibili fell by over 8%, while NetEase fell by over 11%.
The National Press and Publication Administration, together with several regulatory authorities, once again on September 8 summoned Tencent, NetEase and other major online game enterprises, game account rental platforms and game streaming platforms.
During the interview, the officials put forward several requirements:
Enterprises are required to strengthen their auditing of online game content, consciously resist unfair competition, and prevent excessive market concentration or even monopoly.
Companies must strengthen their in-game recharge management and should not change game content or operate games without authorization. They also are required to strictly manage the promotion of games.
Platforms are required to strengthen the management of game streaming, and certain high-value rewards or rewards for minors are prohibited.
Regarding the interview, a relevant employee of the game company G‑bits told Chinese media outlet 21st Century Business Herald that the approach discussed in the meeting was consistent with previous policies. “It’s just to get everyone together and talk about it to protect minors.”