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Thousands of game apps could be removed from app store in China under license enforcement

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According to the latest report by the Chinese research firm Qimai Data, it was revealed that more than 20,000 App Store for-pay games in China could get removed from the iOS platform if developers end up failing to procure a license which is to be submitted by June 30.

The whole issue surrounding licenses dates way back to 2016. While developers with for-pay apps in AppStore were asked to apply for a license three years ago, the rules weren’t strictly enforced then – because of which many developers ended up turning a blind eye to the license.

In the recent past, China’s Cyberspace Administration ordered the tech giant to remove Plague Inc from the AppStore.

While Plague Inc was told that their content was illegal in China, the company suspects that China’s on-going battle with the coronavirus may be the reason why they were removed from the App Store.

It is worth noting that Plague Inc’s game has more than 130 million players globally, making it the #1 mobile strategy/simulation game across the world.

Though Plague Inc being removed from the app stores, considering the game’s theme is managing a pandemic originating in China, it was understandable that censorship-driven China deemed the game unfit in the current circumstances.

However, companies making such large-scale games tend to own a game license, shielding them away from potential license-related hassles.

“Most of those high-grossing games already have a game license, so are unlikely to be affected by this change,” said Rich Bishop, CEO of AppInChina.

Small-time gaming companies and developers, on the other hand, may end up facing grave consequences. What’s more, procuring the licenses is not a walk in the park either.

“It takes four to eight months to get a game license and [the Chinese government] issued a total of just 1,572 game licenses in 2019. This means that the vast majority of the 21,563 paid games or games with in-app purchases on the Apple App Store in China won’t be able to get a game license for several years, let alone by June 30,” says Bishop.

In the whole license fiasco, game-developers are not the only ones to lose; Apple too, has a lot to lose. The tech giant apparently made $9 billion in revenue via the Chinese App Store. If a lion’s share of the current for-pay games end up vanishing from the App Store, so will Apple’s revenue as well.

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