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In a major turn of events, American multinational technology giant Apple has removed over 7,300 mobile games from the Chinese App Store in four days. Apple took this step after the Chinese government had imposed a change in licensing restrictions in the East Asian country. The news spread like wildfire as the App store removed over 7300 games and gamers were shocked by the move.
This can hamper the forecast by market research firm Newzoo that mobile games will generate $77.2 Billion in 2020 as China is one of the biggest markets.
Why App store removed 7300 games?
According to the new rule by the Chinese government, all the app developers need to have approval from Chinese regulators before uploading their app on the App Store. Apple removed 1,571 apps on July 1, 1,805 on July 2, 1276 on July 3 and 2396 on July 4, 2020.
What were the rules before?
Prior to this new licensing rule, the mobile game developers were allowed to upload their apps before seeking approvals. But as soon as the new regulations were in effect, the mobile gaming apps stopped receiving updates and are now being removed. Now, the developers will have to wait for their license to get approved, and then only they can upload on the App Store.
The new rule came into force on June 30, 2020, and Apple was forced by the Chinese government to comply with its Internet policies. This resulted in Apple removing all the mobile games and apps that have not received an official license including Rockstar Games.
After the new rule was enforced, Apple’s initial response was to freeze updates to all these apps. But now all frozen games are being removed from the App Store.
More than 4500 games were removed from the China App Store in the first three days of July. The company had to take action once the rule came into force. This is being called one of the biggest game purges on Apple’s App Store ever.
Difficult times ahead for mobile game developers
The experts are forecasting for difficult times for mobile game developers as China only approves around 1,500 game licenses every year. The process for taking approval takes about six months to a year to be completed.
This implies that many of these games that have been pulled off the App Store will have to wait for a long time before they can come back on.
There are approximately 60,000 games on China’s iOS App Store including paid-for or offer in-app purchases. And according to the experts, at least a third of them don’t have a license.
According to Sensor Tower, China is Apple’s biggest App Store market, with sales of $16.4 billion a year. And according to Newzoo, iOS may generate 53 percent of total mobile game revenue in China.
What does the rule mandates for foreign developers?
Foreign developers are not permitted to directly apply for the license in China. They have to partner with local companies to legally launch their paid games in China. And generally, it takes months for developers to have their titles approved.
Sony took a similar step
Sony has closed a back door into the Chinese version of its PlayStation Store earlier this month. It is ensuring that only games officially released in the region can be downloaded through its marketplace. The Chinese version of the PlayStation Store only offers approximately 150 titles.
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