China’s regulatory authority greenlights 115 games in January · TechNode

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The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) of China released its first batch of domestic game licenses for 2024 in the early hours of this morning, with its approval of 115 games sparking hope for a stable and positive regulatory environment in the industry this year.

Why it matters: Over the last two years, the average monthly issuance of domestic game licenses was around 80, with January 2023 only reaching 88. Today’s approvals represent the highest number of monthly licenses granted for two years. 

Details: The batch of 115 approved games includes 100 mobile games, eight dual-end (PC and mobile) games, four PC games, one PS game, and one web-page game.

The main gaming titles are Need for Speed by Tencent Games, Etheria: Restart by X.D.Network, My Three Body: 2277 by YOOZOO Interactive, Call of Dragons by Lilith Games, Wait a Minute by 37 Interactive Entertainment, Anno: Mutationem by Leiting Games, and Youxing Continent by Bingchuan Network.

The Three-Body Problem is an international award-winning science fiction novel written by Liu Cixin, widely acclaimed for its profound ideas, captivating storyline, and scientific precision. As the first officially licensed Three-Body Problem game, the turn-based strategy title My Three Body: 2277 has consistently garnered attention in China. In October 2023, details of the gameplay were unveiled, accompanied by the opening of online pre-registration, and the game is scheduled for a launch for both mobile and PC platforms in the first half of this year, according to Cailian Press.

Launched globally in March 2023, Call of Dragons, developed by LEGOU Games and distributed by Lilith Games, is available for overseas markets on Android, iOS platforms, and PC. Call of Dragons is a multiplayer Western-style fantasy strategy game with 3D modeling, initially positioned for international audiences. Currently, the game has gained between 5 million and 10 million downloads on the Google Play Store in the global market, according to market intelligence firm SensorTower. However, it remains to be seen whether the game will find similar success with Chinese audiences.

Additionally, the NPPA approved a number of previously-licensed games on new platforms for 2024. NetEase’s card collection role-playing game Harry Potter: Magic Awakening and Perfect World’s turn-based role-playing game Persona 5: The Phantom X have both added a PC version, while X.D.Network introduced the Nintendo Switch version for its puzzle adventure game Moncage.

Context: In 2023, the NPPA released 977 domestic game licenses, representing a year-on-year growth of 108.76%. 

In December 2023, an industry report from The China Game Industry indicated that the revenue of the domestic gaming market reached RMB 3,029.64 billion ($426.83 billion) in 2023, a year-on-year growth of 13.95% and the first time that China’s gaming market has surpassed three trillion RMB. The user base also reached a historic high of 668 million.

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Jessie Wu is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. She covers consumer electronics, semiconductor, and the gaming industry for TechNode. Connect with her via e-mail: jessie.wu@technode.com.
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