Less than a quarter of the 1,004 domestic mobile games approved in China since the end of December 2018 have been published in app stores, game media outlet GameLook reported.

Only 246 new Chinese mobile games, or around 40 per month, were released on Tencent’s Android app store, Yingyongbao, according to the report. Yingyongbao is the biggest Android app store in China and where the vast majority of Chinese mobile titles opt to launch.

One reason for the low publication rate was the nine-month freeze on game approvals last year, Liao Xuhua, an analyst at data consultancy firm Analysys, told TechNode on Wednesday.

“Some developers gave up on the titles because they have been in the pipeline for too long. The games are outdated and no longer work in the current market,” Liao said. “Other titles were scrapped because their teams were gone or because publishers were no longer willing to invest.”

Studios might also choose not to publish because the first half of the year is dominated by heavyweight titles from Tencent and NetEase such as “Perfect World Mobile” and “Jian Wang 3 Mobile.”

“Small studios can’t find many opportunities in this environment,” Liao said. “Of course, some of them could have just been postponing the launch dates,” he added.

The first half of 2019 saw a sharp drop in game licenses from China’s game regulator, the State Administration of Press and Publication (SAPP). Including the 70 PC, HTML, and console titles that were approved this year, the total number of domestic games approved in 2019 so far is only 21% of the number seen in 2017.

In April, the SAPP implemented a new game approval process, limiting the number of game licenses and rejecting low-quality copycat games as well as mahjong and poker games. Since the new process came into effect, the regulator hasn’t approved any domestic games.

Tony Xu is Shanghai-based tech reporter. Connect with him via e-mail: tony.xu@technode.com

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