Game licenses: Apple will check all licenses in China

Developers are concerned about the sudden decision Apple to start checking the gaming licenses issued by the Chinese government for titles with in-app purchases as the new requirement could lead to the cancellation of many games in the App Store.

Apple has informed the developers that they will have to provide the license numbers for games available in the App Store by June 30th if they wish to continue to be available for purchase in Mainland China. Numbers should only be provided by developers who offer paid games in the App Store or those with in-app purchases. Apps that earn revenue from in-app advertising are currently exempt from the restriction.

Licenses are issued by Chinese government and allow a game to be played and earn revenue from it. To be licensed, companies must go through an approval process and sign the copyright of the game through a Chinese agency. The process is quite expensive for non-Chinese companies, and until now Apple has allowed developers based outside of China to offer their products in the App Store without the need for this license. Now, however, Apple has decided that everyone will have to comply with this regulation in force in China, adding an additional burden to foreign developers.

Rich Bishop, CEO of AppInChina, suggests that many companies may see their revenue suddenly drop in late June, as most of the games currently on the store are unlicensed.

China is one of the main sources of revenue for the App Store of Apple, but the games in the store were not immune to the intervention implemented by the Chinese government. For a period between March and December 2018, Chinese authorities stopped approving gaming licenses, delaying the launch of games such as Fortnite, Call of Duty Mobile and PUBG.

The result of this will be that the main game franchises are likely to survive without any particular problems, while independent developers, who may even decide not to release their titles in the Chinese App Store anymore, will be hit hard.

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