Chinese regulators will scrutinize new toys to see if they meet stricter criteria for content and child protection, said some people familiar with the matter, an effort that is likely to slow the release of new toys.
The National Press and Publication Administration re-evaluates the securities submitted for approval by developers by Tencent Holdings Ltd. at Netease Inc. to ensure that they comply with the new playing time limits and other addiction safeguards unveiled in August. The watchdog "froze" the applications at the end of August and asked the developers to resubmit titles with the new mandatory measures that have been integrated.
The review is causing nerves in an industry that is already facing increased uncertainty, as the Beijing continues a campaign to curb gaming addiction and push its youth into more productive pursuits. On August 30, regulators unveiled rules that came into force this month to limit play time for minors to just three hours a week and barred companies from providing services to users without registering under their real name.
Some of the strict regulations are very specific, such as the following: Regulators are fighting increasingly popular zombie-themed games because they are "too scary" by NPPA standards.
While the new criteria introduce an additional level of complex procedures, regulators appear to continue to accept applications.
The South China Morning Post initially reported that approvals would be frozen, but later corrected the news by saying approvals would simply slow down. A prolonged delay in gaming approval is likely to affect the growth of gaming companies in Tencent and Netease, which depend on the release of new titles to sustain growth and attract new users.
Source of information: bloomberg.com