Apple will start removing thousands of mobile games lacking approval of the Communist Party of China from the company’s China App Store in July. The decision ends the unofficial practice of allowing games to be published while awaiting authorization from slow-moving CCP regulators.
Developers and publishers in China have been told that their iOS games will need licenses to continue operating from July, according to people familiar with the matter.
This has until now allowed games such as Grand Theft Auto, whose gory depictions of violence are unlikely to ever pass muster with Chinese censors, to be available within the country’s borders. China’s regulators require all games that are either paid or offer in-app purchases to submit for review and obtain a license before publication, and major Android app stores have enforced such rules since 2016. But unapproved games have flourished on Apple’s iPhone platform.
Back in February, Apple reminded iOS developers in the country to obtain licenses for their titles by June 30. But it was only after prolonged uncertainty about enforcement that the iPhone maker explicitly told publishers that any unlicensed games after the deadline will be banned and removed from the local App Store, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is not public.
There are roughly 60,000 games on China’s iOS App Store that are either paid or contain in-app purchases, and at least a third of them don’t have a license, according to an estimate by AppInChina, which helps companies localize and publish their apps in the country.
MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, the Communist Party of China is tightening their grip and Apple, if they wish to continue doing business in the authoritarian surveillance state, must comply with the CCP’s dictates.