China’s Government Must Now Approve Every Mobile Game

China’s Government Must Now Approve Every Mobile Game

As of July 1, all mobile games must be pre-approved by the Chinese government at least 20 days before they’re released in China. It’s part of sweeping new regulations to curb when, what and how media is distributed in China. Though every game is impacted by this, it seems like it will touch story-based games even more:

  • Application approval is contingent on storyline, content, character features, etc. and publications involving political, military, ethnic or religious subjects are restricted.

And we thought Apple was touchy about what constitutes a game.

Even companies who’ve already published mobile games are required to meet another set of approvals from the government, for such games to stay online.

Here are the rest of the regulations:

  • Any changes made to a pre-existing game, including name changes, must be reported to SAPPRFT [State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of The People’s Republic of China] and the relevant provincial publication administrative department for approval.
  • Online publishers are responsible for adding a special page that displays all information including copyright owners, publishers, approval number, and the publication serial number.
  • Must adhere to strict timeline requirements for application submissions and publish within a limited number of days once approval is granted.

I’ve written all sorts of stories about censorship in the past, but sometimes we throw around the term a little too liberally. This is what censorship looks like.


  • That’s insane. They must have a massive team of people doing the approving, given how many games get released per day on the iOS App Store alone, let alone android. Given China’s new lifting on console bans there was this kind of hope things were on the up and up with games.. One step forward two steps back, I guess.

    • More like a really small, under-resourced team with a rapidly increasing waiting list for app developers… Save for those who wish to accelerate the process via a “priority service fee”, I imagine.

    • It’s insane if you’re in a free market. But this merely allows the big Chinese companies to dominate which is by the government. Foreign companies are already required to publish in China through a Chinese subsidiary anyway…

    • They’ve already been censoring the iOS App Store with Apple’s help:

      And for Android, most of the handsets I saw people using when I visited looked quite different to Western ones. No Google Play store, and often with a custom UI over the top.

      It’s a big country, and the government has shown that they’re willing to firewall off services completely if they don’t play ball. If the Chinese government wants to do this, it is going to happen.

  • Our own government considered something like this a few years ago until they found out how much it would cost.

  • Does that mean the blame for stealing intellectual property is now the government’s fault?

  • Ahh, so this is what they’re switching to for torture of political prisoners.

  • OK I think we are going to see the end of China Mobile Games now especially ones that had English translations in the works as it even states existing games which mean updates. They will have to submit for an update each and every time which will kill updates so games will never progress or take months to get a new update. Ugg.. talk about the death of Mobile Games that survive on updates like Warship Girls.

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