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China finally greenlights new Tencent, NetEase games - but Fortnite and PUBG still left waiting

Nation's leading publishers included in latest batch of approvals

Chinese regulators have finally granted the market's biggest games firms licences to release new titles.

Reuters reports The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television licensed 95 games yesterday -- the fourth batch since the nine-month freeze on game approvals was lifted.

Among the line-up were two mobile games from Tencent and one from NetEase. Both publishers had been left out from each previous batch of approvals.

Tencent in particular has suffered under stricter games regulations in China; not only has it been unable to release new titles, but there have been restrictions on how it monetises established ones.

This has impacted the firm's revenues and investors' confidence in the company, triggering a massive drop in market value over the last year. However, with games now being approved, Tencent's fortunes are expected to start recovering -- in fact, news that two titles had been cleared for release saw its shares rise by more than 3%.

But the company's wait is not over year. The South China Morning Post reports that the two games approved were lesser-known titles, one based on designing wooden furniture and the other on traditional Chinese folding fans.

This means Tencent is still waiting on approval for battle royale blockbusters Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, which it is publishing in China. The company has already released trial runs for two mobile versions of PUBG and a PC SKU of Fortnite, but without regulators' approval it cannot monetise these titles through in-game purchases (which is the biggest source of their revenue around the world).

Perfect World, another major Chinese games publisher, has also been excluded from the first three rounds of approvals. Fortunately, it was among the companies included in this fourth batch.

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James Batchelor avatar

James Batchelor


James Batchelor is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz. He is based in Essex and has been a B2B games journalist since 2006