Apple freezes updates for unlicensed games in China · TechNode

Apple has frozen updates of mobile games that didn’t provide gaming licenses from Chinese regulators. The move came after a “loophole” used by foreign game makers to bypass China’s strict gaming regulations was closed by Apple at the end of June.

Details: The American tech giant said developers would not be able to update their games without a valid license issued by the Chinese government, Financial Times reported Thursday.

  • Games will not be removed from Apple’s App Store, and the company will allow games to be downloaded, said the report.
  • TechNode reported in February that Apple sent a notice to developers requiring them to submit valid license numbers for paid games or games offering in-app purchases before June 30 in order to distribute in mainland China. 
  • In a notice sent to game makers that have titles listed on the Chinese App Store, Apple said: “Chinese law requires games to secure an approval number from the General Administration of Press and Publication of China.”

Context: The Chinese National Radio and Television Administration, China’s top content regulator, issued a notice in 2016 requiring mobile games to obtain approval before publishing.

  • Apple previously required developers to submit a license number to upload games to the store, but a report by The Information suggested in 2018 that Apple didn’t actually check the license numbers.
  • At the time of the report, developers were able to list unlicensed games by submitting a random number instead of an official license number.

Wei Sheng is a Beijing-based reporter covering hardware, smartphone, and telecommunications, along with regulations and policies related to the China tech scene. Before joining TechNode, he wrote about…

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