Briefing: China gaming regulator tells local authorities to stop filing applications as it deals with nine-month backlog

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China content regulator requests pause in new game application – Reuters

What happened: China’s top content regulator, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT) issued a notice to local authorities this week, asking them to stop submitting applications to monetize new video games, Reuters reported, quoting three people with knowledge of the matter. The pause is intended to enable the regulator to process the applications that built up during a nine-month freeze on new game licenses last year. Game companies can still submit applications to local authorities, but they won’t be passed on to the top regulator.

Why it’s important: The pause comes less than three months after SAPPRFT resumed its approval of new video games. Without SAPPRFT approval, companies can distribute but not monetize games as has been the case for two of the hit games that gaming giant Tencent’s distribute in China, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite. The content regulator approved 528 games since it restarted the approval process, but industry insiders estimate that there are at least 5,000 games in the pipeline. The notice from SAPPRFT indicates that it could still take even longer time for game companies to profit from new titles.