Apple has removed more than 8,000 from the iOS App Store in China, and is expected to pull more by the end of the month.
The news emerges from Niko Partners' Daniel Ahmad, who shared an email issued to developers with premium games or free-to-play titles that feature in-app purchases.
The email states that Chinese law requires all such games to have a valid publishing license number, or ISBN, from the nation's National Press and Publication Administration -- the government body that regulates game releases.
Developers have until July 31 to submit this approval number. All unlicensed games will be removed from the China mainland version of the App Store from August 1, 2020.
Ahmad stated that more than 8,000 games were removed from the store between July 1 and July 8.
As he observes on Twitter, this is not necessarily a new development but more a "long overdue correction of the market."
In 2016, China passed a law that all paid games or games with in-app purchases must be approved by the gaming regulator.
Android stores have been enforcing this since 2016, but loopholes have allows developers to launch on iOS in China without a valid ISBN.
Apple is now complying with the regulation and clamping down on its store. According to Niko Partners, it warned developers and publishers last month they would require an approval number by July.
Niko observed that, as of June 2020, 50 of the top 100 most downloaded apps on the Chinese App Store were unlicensed. However, 97 of the top 100 grossing games did have a legal ISBN.