China reveals new regulatory system for online video games after more than a year of confusion

    
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For the last year and change, we watched in slowly dawning horror during China’s big game “freeze,” when bureaucrats shut down avenues for game approval, even for home-grown megacorps like Tencent, which actually lost stock value over it. Over the last few months, we’ve then watched the “thaw” begin as the approval machine cranked up and domestic games were once again given the go-ahead.

At the tail end of last week, the country finally announced its formal rules for approval, which ought to make the whole system more transparent for company companies that’ve been floundering trying to make inroads over these last many months.

Apparently the state publishing board has established an “online game ethics committee” made up of “experts and scholars” who will review submitted games to see whether they meet China’s social values. And while the approval process is back in swing, there will be a cap on approved games per year, prohibitions against excessive numbers of games (over a third of the new games in 2017 were poker and mahjong), and a mandate to stymie addictive games and promote Chinese culture and history through games.

Source: Bloomberg, Venture Beat, Niko Partners. Thanks, Eliot W.!

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Rolan Storm

*rolls for disbelief*

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Frank White

So I guess you’re first line of business, if you’re a big games publisher with some money to spend, is to find out who’s on the online game ethics committee and what you can do to curry their favor. If it’s too risky to outright bribe them, find out such things as their favorite charities or causes and make some hefty and very public donations, or find other ways to benefit them and/or their close relatives and friends. Etc….. ;)

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Your Honor

So no more dead bodies in any game, no more depictions of blood of any color in any game and my personal favorite. Must contain correct historical facts.

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Frank White

And “correct historical facts” are whatever the government says they are. At the 2017 meeting of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, lawmakers made bad-mouthing communist heroes and martyrs a civil offense.

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Your Honor

Yep.

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Schmidt.Capela

and a mandate to stymie addictive games

If I understood correctly, it also includes a mandate to prevent excessive customer spending in the game; while not an outright ban on lootboxes, I expect this to restrict how they are used in China, since lootboxes and similar features are are the forefront among the features that can make players spend more than would be reasonable on a game.

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Fervor Bliss

“The game operation organization must have the “Telecom and Information Service Business License”

Looks like it’s Telecoms for the win. Renminbi talks.

umdiddly
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umdiddly

出版国产移动游戏作品申请表

It reads more like just a mobile game developer business license. I don’t see anything about literally telecom, probably just lost in translation there.

The actual sapprft doc form for the official application is pretty ridiculous though. Pretty standard from a Chinese gov agency. It’s like the worst formatted word doc, no pdf, looks like something someone just threw together.

Imagine how tough it would be to sort through all that paperwork? 9 times out of 10, it just gets filed somewhere and lost.

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Fervor Bliss

Google translated the doc. Yes the money in mobile is too good for them to pass on it.