As of today, July 1, all mobile games must be pre-approved by the Chinese government at least 20 days before they’re released. It’s part of sweeping new regulations to curb when, what, and how media is distributed in China.


Though every game is impacted by this, it seems like it’ll touch story-based games even more:

  • Application approval is contingent on storyline, content, character features, etc. and publications involving political, military, ethnic or religious subjects are restricted.

And we thought Apple was touchy about what constitutes a game?


Even companies who’ve already published mobile games are required to meet another set of approvals from the government, for such games to stay online.

Here are the rest of the regulations:

  • Any changes made to a pre-existing game, including name changes, must be reported to SAPPRFT [State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of The People’s Republic of China] and the relevant provincial publication administrative department for approval.
  • Online publishers are responsible for adding a special page that displays all information including copyright owners, publishers, approval number, and the publication serial number.
  • Must adhere to strict timeline requirements for application submissions and publish within a limited number of days once approval is granted.

I’ve written all sorts of stories about censorship in the past, but sometimes we throw around the term a little too liberally. This is what censorship looks like.