China's video game regulator on Thursday granted publishing licenses to 70 online games, including titles belonging to Tencent and NetEase, among other developers.
China's Tencent, the world's largest gaming company, received its first commercial license in a year and a half for the action game "Metal Slug: Awakening," according to a list published by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA).
Last year, Beijing opposed the country's vibrant gaming sector as part of a policy of "reining in" big tech companies. For example, there was a cap on the amount of time children and teenagers could spend playing games.
Unlike in most other countries, in China, the world's largest gaming market, video games need approvals from regulators before release. Last August, Beijing cracked down on the gaming industry by initiating a nine-month freeze on the license approval process.
As SCMP previously noted, China's strict new game licensing system stemmed from a re-evaluation by authorities about the extent to which modern video games can influence a person’s mindset and views. All online video games that reach Chinese players must be screened and censored by the state. China's censors are particularly vigilant about foreign games, censoring and localizing them.
NetEase, China's second largest gaming company behind Tencent, also received a license this month for an RPG called "Journey to the West: Return." This is the second license since the freeze was lifted in April after securing one in September.
A Tencent subsidiary also received a license in September, but it was for an educational game with no monetization.
No licenses were granted in October, when the 20th Party Congress was underway in Beijing.