China issued no new video game licenses in October, breaking a string of approvals since June and sending chills through an industry grappling with a market downturn and continuous government scrutiny, reports the South China Morning Post.
The pause by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), the agency responsible for licensing video games in China, went against the beliefs of many analysts and industry insiders, who thought the approval process had returned to normal after an eight-month licensing freeze ended in April.
That month, the NPPA licensed 45 new games. While no license was approved in May, analysts widely considered it an operational delay stemming from a COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing, rather than a new policy signal. The agency went on to give out 269 more licenses from June to September.