Apple Removes 39,000 Gaming Apps From Chinese Store To Meet Year-End License Deadline

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(Reuters) – Apple removed 39,000 game apps from its Chinese store on Thursday, the biggest pullout on record in a single day, in line with the year-end deadline for all game publishers to license.

The withdrawals come amid a crackdown on unlicensed gambling by Chinese authorities.

Including the 39,000 games, Apple removed more than 46,000 total apps from its store on Thursday. Games affected by the sweep include Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Identity and NBA 2K20, according to research firm Qimai.

Qimai also said that only 74 of the Apple Store’s 1,500 highest-paying games survived the purge.

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Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company initially gave game publishers a late June deadline to submit a government-issued license number that would allow users to make in-app purchases at the world’s largest gaming marketplace.

Apple then extended the deadline to December 31.

Android app stores in China have long complied with licensing regulations. It’s unclear why Apple is enforcing them more strictly this year.

Analysts said the move came as no surprise as Apple continues to fill in the gaps to align with Chinese content regulators, and that this would not directly affect Apple’s results as much as previous cuts. .

However, this major pivot of only accepting paid games with a gaming license, coupled with the extremely low number of foreign game licenses approved by China this year, will likely lead more game developers to switch to an ad-supported model for their Chinese versions, “said Todd Kuhns, marketing director of AppInChina, a company that helps foreign companies distribute their apps.


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