China’s gaming regulator has granted a new batch of publishing licensing. Although the approval process is still slow, the list finally includes a new game from NetEase.

The National Press and Public Administration (NPPA) approved 73 online games on September 13, according to . One of them, the sports game All-Star Street Ball Party, belongs to NetEase.

As a result, the company’s shares rose by over 5% in a pre-market session, trading at  $92.4 per share.

The list once again doesn’t include any new commercial games from another Chinese tech giant, Tencent, except for the educational title Health Protection War from its subsidiary Nanjing Wangdian Technology.

What is going on with game licensing in China?

  • No video game can be officially distributed in China without being approved by the regulator. In July 2021, the government put the process on pause, leading to a new wave of restrictions on the games industry.
  • For example, China has cut playtime for minors to only three hours per week. The country’s political bodies later proposed even stricter measures, including holding parents of game-addicted kids accountable.
  • In April 2022, the government finally ended a 263-day licensing freeze, the longest since 2018. The NPPA granted licenses to 45 domestic titles, giving new hope to game developers.
  • There were several batches of approvals ever since, but none of these lists included games from China’s two biggest game companies, Tencent and NetEase.
  • On top of that, the approval process is still slow. The NPPA used to license up to 100 new games per month in the pre-free era, which is still more than this year’s average numbers.
  • Troubles with game approvals and growing pressure in the domestic market have forced big Chinese companies to look for more business opportunities abroad.
  • Tencent, for example, announced a new global version of Honor Kings, its biggest hit and the highest-grossing mobile game globally. The company also continues to invest in foreign game developers, making 122 deals in the first half of 2022 alone.