It turns out, starting from next month, Apple’s China App Store will remove thousands of mobile games that have not been approved by the government.
According to people familiar with the matter, Chinese developers and publishers have been informed that their iOS games will require a license to continue operations from July. This decision will end a current unofficial practice. We mean now it is allowed the game to be released first while waiting for regulatory approval.
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This unofficial approach allows games such as Grand Theft Auto to operate in the Chinese market. Analysts said that these games are difficult to obtain regulatory approval.
In fact, Chinese regulators have long required that all games that pay or offer in-app purchases require a license before they are released. Since 2016, major Android application stores have implemented this regulation. But on the iPhone platform, unauthorized games are still popular.
It is unclear why Apple did not act as quickly as other app stores in China.
People familiar with the matter said that the latest app store approval process will take effect in 2019. As far as Apple is concerned, the company has begun to strengthen the management of its Chinese app store. Earlier this month, Apple has removed two podcast apps.
As early as February of this year, Apple reminded iOS developers to obtain a game license before June 30. But after a long delay, Apple clearly informed the publisher that after the deadline, any unauthorized games will be banned and deleted from the App Store.
How long it will take to remove all unauthorized games is currently unknown. Regarding the report, an Apple representative declined to comment.
What Do Analysts Think About This?
Analysis Group estimates that China will account for about 1/5 of the $61 billion in digital goods and services sold through the Apple App Store in 2019, second only to the US market. In most of these transactions, Apple can contribute 30%.
AppInChina, which helps developers localize and publish applications in China, estimates that there are approximately 60,000 paid or in-app purchase games in China’s App Store, at least 1/3 of which do not have licenses.
Rich Bishop, CEO of AppInChina, said: ‘These companies will suddenly lose all revenue from what is typically their second-largest market after the U.S.’
Analysts said that Apple’s new initiative highlights the strict control of the game by Chinese regulators. Out of concerns about the proliferation of minor addictions and the spread of offensive content, regulators have now adopted stricter approval procedures.
Major Dame Developer Will Benefit A Lot
Analysts also said that large local companies can quickly respond to relevant requirements when developing new games. But some small developers and publishers lack sufficient resources.
At the same time, imported games were also subject to strict scrutiny. But the previous loopholes in the App Store have allowed some of these games to be released in the Chinese market.
Analysts say that for small game developers, neither of the remaining two options seems particularly attractive. They can convert their revenue model to in-app advertising (not affected by the approval process). If not, they can work with large publishers such as Tencent to obtain licenses. Although this will involve giving up a certain degree of autonomy, Tencent is more interested in the franchise.