After several months of uncertainty, an official at the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department confirmed in the new year that the new regulator has completed reviews on the first batch of games – but two of China’s largest publishers, Tencent and NetEase, were notably missing from the first list of approved licenses.
Now, however, Chinese regulators have now approved the monetisation of 95 further games, including titles from Tencent and NetEase. As reported by Reuters (thanks, Gamasutra), the latest approvals included two titles from NetEase and one from Tencent, and takes the total number of approvals made by Chinese officials to 726.
Tencent reportedly cut its marketing budget following a market slowdown driven by the regulatory disruption in China. While still a "strongly profitable" company, analysts projected the Chinese company’s "total debt has soared to a record $26 billion", and expected the company to reveal its slowest growth in years when it reports on its earnings.
Tencent recently announced it will be restructuring for the first time in six years following the challenges dealing with Chinese governmental regulations for the gaming industry. The megacorp was hit with a fall in profits for the first time in 13 years owing to the very same Chinese regulatory issues that have pushed the decision to restructure.
Tencent also recently confirmed it will expand its player identity verification processes across all its games by the end of 2019 after governmental pressure to reduce game addiction, minimise underage players, and curtail short-sightedness. The new legislation, introduced in August, has made it increasingly difficult for Tencent – which, by sales, is the world’s biggest game company – to release new titles or include microtransactions or in-app purchases. Its last release was back in March, pushing its share price down by 28 per cent and reducing the company’s market value by $138 billion.