In January, China approved the largest number of video games in the past 18 months.
In China, unlike in most other countries, video games need approval from regulators before release. National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) of China approved 115 new video game titles in the first month of 2024, the largest batch of approvals in 18 months, in a supportive gesture to the industry.
The surge in the number of approvals came after the recent retraction of a regulatory proposal that has weighed on the industry since causing a rout in gaming stocks such as Tencent Holdings and NetEase. Chinese listed gaming firms listed in Shanghai, Hong Kong or the US have collectively lost about US$80 billion in value since the draft was published.
Shortly after the proposal was published, China approved 105 titles for sale in the country in its December batch, the first time it approved more than 100 games at once since July 2022.
Among this month's approvals is a mobile game Tencent developed in collaboration with the American sport league National Basketball Association (NBA), which has a dedicated following in China, according to the list published on Friday by the NPPA.
Other major local developers who had games approved this month include Lilith Games, Shenzhen Zhongqingbaowang Network Technology, and 37 Interactive Entertainment.
Video game consultancy Niko Partners expects the Chinese gaming market to continue to grow this year on a combination of factors, including new game launches driven by the normalisation of approvals and the integration of artificial intelligence.