China may finally end its game licensing crackdown. The government has approved more than 40 foreign titles, including products from Riot Games and Nintendo.
The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) granted publishing licenses to 45 foreign games, according to Reuters. This if the first batch of approved titles from non-Chinese companies in 18 months.
The country’s regulator also licensed 84 domestic games in December, including six titles from Tencent. Other large companies to receive approvals this month include NetEase, ByteDance, iDreamSky, and XD Inc.
Here are some of the foreign products mentioned in the Reuters report (some of them will be published in China by Tencent):
- Riot Games’ multiplayer shooter Valorant
- Nintendo’s mobile MOBA Pokémon Unite
- CD Projekt RED’s collectible card game GWENT
- Klei Entertainment’s survival title Don’t Starve
A quick reminder: Any video game, whether local or foreign, can’t be published and distributed in China without a special license from the NPPA.
Last year, the regulator put the process on pause, resulting in a 263-day licensing freeze — the longest since 2018. Although the country started licensing domestic titles again, tech giants like Tencent and NetEase had to wait months to get the approval.
Prior to this day, the NPPA hasn’t approved any foreign game since June 28, 2021. As reported by Reuters, the latest move by the Chinese government marks the “last regulatory curb to be removed,” making it easier for developers and publishers to receive licenses.
However, the number of approved games is still far from previous years. The country licensed only 76 foreign titles in 2021, compared to 456 in 2017.