China approves 95 new video games in April, including Lost Soul Aside from Sony and NetEase’s Broken Land

China approves 95 new video games in April, including Lost Soul Aside from Sony and NetEase’s Broken Land

China’s video gaming regulator this month approved 95 new titles for domestic release, including Lost Soul Aside from the mainland unit of Sony Interactive Entertainment and Broken Land from NetEase.

This was the smallest batch of titles approved so far in 2024 by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), the government body in charge of licensing video games in China.

The NPPA granted licences to 107 video games in March, 111 in February and 115 in January. This year, the regulator has approved 428 domestic games as well as 46 foreign titles.

Action role-playing game Lost Soul Aside received a licence for release on personal computers as well as for gaming consoles PlayStation 4 and 5, according to the NPPA list.

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NetEase’s Broken Land was previously known as Code 56. Photo: NetEase

NetEase, which recently resumed its partnership with Blizzard Entertainment on the mainland, was granted a licence to release shooting game Broken Land, previously known as Code 56, as a PC and mobile title.

Tencent Holdings, which runs the world’s biggest video gaming business by revenue, received the regulator’s go-ahead for a mobile game on carbon neutrality. Tan Tan Dao, which translates to “Carbon Island”, was first announced by Tencent in 2022 as part of its efforts to promote social responsibility through video games.

Although the latest NPPA list is smaller in number compared to those in the past three months, the regulator has continued to step up the pace of approvals as Chinese authorities try to restore confidence in the industry.

In January, the regulator retracted a draft proposal it published in December that aimed to put a cap on user spending in games and ban “excessive” rewards. That proposal caused at least US$80 billion of Chinese video gaming stocks’ market value to be wiped out in Shanghai, Hong Kong and New York.

A key Chinese government official later stepped down, as the NPPA moved to withdraw that proposal, according to a South China Morning Post report, which cited people familiar with the matter.

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The resurrection of China’s video gaming industry

The resurrection of China’s video gaming industry

Separately, NetEase also received the NPPA’s green light to release a PC version of its hugely popular mobile game Diablo Immortal, according to another document released on Friday by the regulator.

Diablo Immortal was launched by NetEase in China in 2022 as a sequel to the 25-year-old Diablo franchise jointly-created by the Chinese firm and Blizzard Entertainment.

Following an acrimonious break-up last year, NetEase and Blizzard Entertainment earlier this month agreed to renew a publishing partnership covering video games under their previous arrangement, including World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and other titles in the Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo and StarCraft franchises.

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