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.