Two days ago, we reported how Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World got pulled from Tencent’s WeGame platform. This removal came a mere 5 days after it went up for sale and was largely speculated as having been the result of “bureaucratic infighting.” A Bloomberg article has just surfaced further supporting this idea. Citing an anonymous source, the news piece states that Chinese “regulators have frozen approval of game licenses amid a government shake-up.” In other words, it seems like for some time, no new games will be allowed into the Chinese market until this issue is sorted out.
According to their sources, Bloomberg noted that growing public concern about violence and gambling in games, combined with a restructuring of power among two regulatory departments, has caused this sudden halt of new games. The two agencies, the National Radio and Television Administration and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism have gone through “personnel changes and restructurings of responsibilities following a shake-up earlier this year as President Xi Jinping consolidated power.” Given the climate in the country with regards to violence in video games, the Bloomberg article speculates that the new personnel in charge of approving/rejecting games may be reluctant to accept new games that could create controversy for the department during this critical time.
Tencent confirmed the freeze in their earnings report on Wednesday and its president, Martin Lau, apparently told investors that he believed the current situation was only temporary: “We do believe it’s not a matter of whether these games will be approved for monetization, but a matter of when.”
It is unlikely that Lau will be proven incorrect with this statement, however it’s hard to say in what way the regulatory bodies will react to the increasing disapproval of violent games and gambling mechanics in China. If they decide to take a hardline stance on the matter, Tencent and other companies will have no choice but to significantly adjust many games to meet the new standards.
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