Some 14,000 small studies development of video games and companies linked to the industry (dedicated to merchandising, to advertising and publication) have been decommissioned in China during 2021. The information has been shared by the state newspaper Securities Daily and spread by South China Morning Post. The data comes months after they were announced harsh restrictions on playing time for minors of the Asian country, with large companies such as Tencent and NetEase investing abroad, and without approval not a single new game in China since July.
The General administration of press and publications (GAPP) of the People’s Republic of China is responsible for authorizing the distribution of video games in the country. Each month they usually pass between 80 and 100 videogames, but it has not done so since July 2021. The Government of the country has not given explanations about this unprecedented situation in 2018, when no games were approved for nine months.
Companies like ByteDance (the parent company of TikTok), Baidu (the equivalent of Google in China), and Tanwan Games have laid off numerous employees involved with development, distribution and other areas of the video game industry. Tech giants like Tencent and NetEase have been betting on another strategy for years: spread to the West buying companies and opening studios.
The official press agency of the Chinese Government, Xinhua, issued a statement in early August calling video games “spiritual opium”. After the impact it had on the price of the shares of large companies in the country, they moderated their words. At the end of that month they announced that minors in China could only play one hour a day between 20:00 and 21:00 Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Video games were banned outside of that period for the 110 million people affected.