Apple will start removing thousands of games from the Chinese App Store from next month. Developers selling games on the Chinese App Store need to get prior approval from the government along with the relevant license. The rule has been there since 2016 but Apple never enforced it. Earlier this year, the company sent out an email informing developers that they have until the end of June 2020 to get the license and submit the approval number to it.
Starting next month, the Cupertino company will start removing all apps from the Chinese App Store that do not submit their approval number. Up until now, Apple has allowed game developers to publish their games on the App Store while they wait for their licenses from the Chinese regulators, a slow and time-consuming process. The company is now basically shutting down this loophole.
A similar rule is also present on the various Android App Stores in Chinese Android devices and has been enforced since 2016.
The Chinese regulators are unlikely to approve any games with too much gore and violence like Grand Theft Auto which has been available on the App Store for a few years now. A similar story is going to play out with basically any game that has too much violence as Chinese regulators are unlikely to pass it. Chinese regulators had forced Apple to take down the Plague Inc. game from the App Store which had been topping the App Store downloads following the lockdown imposed by the virus outbreak. The game was also based around the spread of a pandemic.
Apple’s new effort highlights the Chinese government’s tightening grip on gaming. Citing concerns about the proliferation of addiction among minors and the dissemination of offensive content, regulators now adopt a much stricter and slower review process than before they temporarily halted all approvals in 2018.
The Chinese App Store is the second major source of revenue for a number of game publishers. While major studios will be able to modify their game to reduce the violence and gore, smaller developers are likely going to be affected by this as they won’t be able to invest in resources to modify their game for a particular market. The rules are only applicable for games that are available as a paid download or with IAPs. So, developers can either make their games available for free and show ads inside it to generate revenue or team up with other major publishers.[Via Bloomberg]