China still restricts access to unauthorized foreign games – TechCrunch

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For years, China has left a loophole open for people to access unauthorized video games, but it’s ready to close it.

Many overseas titles don’t have a Chinese publishing partner like Tencent to help them obtain the government-issued license needed to operate in the country, so gamers normally rely on a “throttle” to reduce delays. games hosted abroad.

On Wednesday, Tencent, the world’s largest online game company, announced that it would end its game booster that allows users to play games overseas. While not explicitly stated in the advisory, some users see the decision as authorities stepping up to limit access to foreign gameplay. Tencent rival NetEase also runs a similar service, which still works.

The other signal for heightened scrutiny came on Friday when the National Radio and Television Administration of China, the video game licensing regulator, said platforms will be “strictly prohibited” from live games that have not been authorized by the government. Platforms, including their individual and professional accounts, should obtain approval before broadcasting matches or games abroad, according to the notice.

This will drastically reduce the number of games that Chinese live stream hosts can discuss, which could put many of them out of work, as China has slowed down the approval process for new games over the past few years. Many foreign titles may not be officially available in China, but there is a large market where commentaries and matches of international hit games are shown on the country’s live streaming platforms like Huya and Douyu.

The government has issued similar warnings in the past. For example, in 2016, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which participates in the regulation of games but does not issue licenses, mentioned in a general regulation on “Internet performance” that platforms “should not” include of comments on unlicensed games, a less strong wording compared to the last document.

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