China has strict roles when it comes to releasing video games there. In July, all non-free iOS games will have to submit licenses issued by the Chinese Administration of Press and Publication (SAPP). According to GameLook (via Pandaily), Apple will implement the new game review process for China’s App Store in July. Based on a notice that Apple sent to developers, the games should submit licenses before the 30th of June to show up on the mobile storefront. Furthermore, free games that only generate income by ads don’t need to do anything.
iOS games that are paid or have microtransactions are under the radar
As we said above, the games that rely on ad revenue are spared. However, paid iOS games or games that have in-game purchases are not. Apple will also check if the same game approval is used by multiple publishers or games. This will close one of the loopholes that many developers and publishers used to get around the system. According to the source, overseas developers that rely on the Chinese market will be hit the hardest by the new license check. Also, developers without a local partner are not allowed to apply for licenses in China due to their nationality. That means no revenue from the biggest market in Asia.
If the hit indie title Plauge, Inc. doesn’t get a local partner who can help it with license, the game will not generate any revenue from the Chinese market. The Chinese Administration of Press and Publication made this decision to improve the quality of the Chinese games market. So far, the regulator approved 108 games in the first three months of 2020.
How is the Chinese market doing during COVID-19?
Back in June, we published a report about the impact of the ongoing pandemic mobile gaming in China. You can read it here but briefly, there were positive and negative impacts. Mobile games downloads and in-app purchases rose while ad views and revenue decreased.