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China indicates end to game approval freeze

Chinese regulators have signaled an end to the freeze on new game approvals in the country to the relief of companies such as Tencent Holdings Ltd., The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 21, citing media reports in China that quote a local regulator.

A new batch of video games has reportedly been assessed and their publication numbers, which is mandatory for gaming companies to have before they begin charging for a game, will be approved soon, Feng Shixin, deputy director of the propaganda department's copyright bureau in China said at the 2018 China Game Industry Annual Meeting.

No sale of new titles have been approved by the authorities since March, The Wall Street Journal report said.

The State Administration of Radio and Television and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism decided to suspend game license approvals, amid an intensifying crackdown on content in China. This was triggered by growing concerns about online addiction and health issues among children.

Tencent removed a video game from its live-streaming and gaming site WeGame in August and said "Monster Hunter: World" was no longer available. The company reported stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings, but the crippling effects of the crackdown hit the revenues of its key online-gaming business.

In July, video-sharing platform Bilibili Inc. was pulled from smartphone app stores in China following criticism from state-owned China Central Television (CCTV)(CN) for streaming inappropriate content.