China's SAPP Implementing New Regulations on Game Approval

Published: April 23, 2019 10:30 AM /


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As the world's largest socialist republic, China has many restrictions on aspects a lot of the rest of the world take for granted. In America, you'll never see a game pulled from publication for containing a mocking reference to our country's leader. However, government control over media and free speech are big deals in China. The country recently lifted a freeze on video game approvals, and we finally have some concrete details. In short, it doesn't look good for games like Mortal Kombat 11.

mortal kombat 11 online beta brutality
Pictured: Something China likely won't be showing

You Can't Do That on Chinese Television

As many people know, China is the world's most populous country with 1.4 billion citizens. Because of this, companies of all sorts hope to tap into that huge market (in particular, the Chinese video game market is worth about $30 billion.) Unfortunately, China's upcoming changes mean some games will be facing an uphill battle. As reported by Niko Partners, the State Administration of Press and Publications (SAPP) announced these changes in a conference earlier this month. Some of the more notable changes include:
  • Limiting the number of games approved for sale each year. This is done to help weed out low-quality copycat games, which face instant rejection under the new system.
  • Gambling games are also forbidden, which means no more poker or Mahjong games.
  • Images of blood or dead bodies are taboo. In addition, they can't pull a Danganronpa and change the color of the blood.
  • China's new approval process is iffy about games regarding the country's imperial history. In particular, 'gongduo' (imperial harem games) and 'guanduo' (palace official competition) are on the blacklist. If you want your fix of court intrigue, you'll have to stick with Crusader Kings II.
China and the SAAP will implement the new approval system sometime later this month. An English summary of what will be implemented can be found here in Niko Partners' article.

What do you think of these new restrictions for Video Games in China? Are there any that you wish were the case where you live? Is this something that's going to affect you? Let us know in the comments below!


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