China stops approving new video, phone games


The Chinese government has been halting its approvals of new online game licences as Chinese President Xi Jinping pushes a "purification" campaign in media and entertainment, according to reports.

Under pressure to curb gaming marathons on Tencent's smash hit "King of Glory" mobile multiplayer battle game, the company past year started restricting daily playing times for children.

Tencent's profit in April-June fell 2 percent year-on-year to 17.87 billion yuan ($2.59 billion), while revenue grew 30 percent, the slowest in three years, to 73.68 billion yuan, with sequential declines in both mobile and PC games. Mobile gaming revenue jumped 19% year-over-year, making for a sequential decline of 19%.

League numbers are down from their peak, but it's still one of the most-played games in the world and we're very happy with the numbers, and we think some of the new content we're putting out soon can only help with player numbers. The stock has slid more than 17 per cent this year, while New York-listed rival Alibaba Group Holding remained mostly unchanged. Shares in Naspers Ltd., Tencent's single largest shareholder, tanked 10 per cent in Johannesburg.

Morton said he remained bullish on Tencent shares and that regulatory risk in China versus the rest of the global gaming market has always been there.

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Monster Hunter had won regulatory approval, but was pulled amid objections over the content. Executives said Tencent is working to make changes to the game, so it will be made available in the future and is attempting to work more closely with government regulators to "improve this process going forward".

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.

China may resume approvals around September, Wu said.

The owner of messaging platform WeChat, which has more than 1 billion users, has struggled to secure approval from Chinese regulators to monetize some of its most popular online games. It said they will be able to continue playing the game but that the firm could not guarantee associated services would continue.

Still, concerns remain about the prospects of the company's video games business. Though this was 30 percent higher than a year earlier, it was below the 77.5 billion yuan average forecast by analysts. Tencent is still waiting for license approval for the desktop versions of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite, along with the mobile version of PUBG.