Apple will be removing thousands of mobile games from its App Store in China, following the government’s crackdown on a loophole that has allowed developers like Rockstar Games to get unapproved games into the hands of Chinese players.
Chinese regulations demand that all paid-for games, or those that offer in-app purchases, must be reviewed and obtain a license before they can be published. Android app stores have largely had this rule in place since 2016, though many iPhone game developers would go ahead and publish their games anyway while waiting for authorization, which could take months. Now, Apple says that all iOS games in China will need licenses to continue operating starting in July.
In February, Apple reminded iOS developers in China that they needed to get licenses prior to publishing, and now the iPhone maker has explicitly said that games without a license by June 30th will be banned and removed from the local App Store.
This follows a similar decision by Sony. There are about 60,000 games on China’s iOS App Store that are paid-for or offer in-app purchases, and at least a third of them don’t have a license. It could take a while to remove these unlicensed games.
We don’t know why it has taken Apple so long to take a stand.