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China appears to have halted approvals of new online game licences, with reports Wednesday that a government shake-up was causing paralysis in the world's biggest gaming market.
The hold-up has battered shares of market leaders like Tencent, which have plunged since the company said it had been ordered to remove hit game "Monster Hunter: World" from sale, only days after its debut.
Bloomberg - News - Wednesday - China - Games
Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that China had stopped approving any new mobile games as part of a wider shake-up of the market.
Checks of the National Radio and Television Administration's online list of approved games showed that no new titles had been added since May. The list is normally updated regularly.
Sources - Bloomberg - Approvals - Online - Console
Quoting unnamed sources, Bloomberg said approvals for online, console and mobile games have been stalled for months by regulatory personnel changes linked to President Xi Jinping's ongoing consolidation of power, leaving developers stranded.
China's Economic Daily in June had quoted the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the other state body involved in approvals, as saying the agencies were undergoing "organisational adjustments."
Regulators - Games - Violence - Gambling - Bloomberg
Regulators have also balked at approving games featuring violence and gambling, Bloomberg quoted a source saying, as Xi pushes a "purification" campaign in media and entertainment.
Hong Kong-listed shares in Tencent, which derives much of its income from games, dropped more than three percent on Wednesday and are down around 10 percent since last week's announcement.
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