China’s video game regulator has not approved any new titles since July 2021

China’s not-so-subtle war against video games has reportedly led many domestic publishers to close their doors. The SCMP says the National Press and Publications Administration (NPPA) has not issued a new license to the game developer since July 2021. And that, as a consequence, a number of local companies have been forced to leave their jobs, while some of the larger players want to relocate operations abroad. It is not clear whether the NPPA’s inaction is the direct cause of these closures, especially given the wider debt crisis in China, but there is a belief that something is being prepared.

The NPPA reportedly kept quiet about why it suddenly decided to stop issuing licenses, but you can probably guess why. China spent most of 2021 stepping up its already fierce criticism of video games, and a key state-run news outlet described them as “spiritual opium” this summer. At the end of August 2021, a limit was set on how long minors can play some titles reduced to only three hours per week. And considering the Chinese repeated attacks and the biggest players in its technology sector, it seems that we should not hope that the NPPA will reopen the faucet soon.

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