Apple to remove thousands of unlicensed iPhone games in China

Apple App Store is removing games permitted to operate in China while awaiting licenses

Apple has removed tens of thousands of unlicensed Chinese apps from its iOS App Store. 

China’s government requires all games purchased, or those that offer in-app purchases, to go through a review process to get approval for licensing before publication. Currently, the Chinese iOS App Store has approximately 60,000 games, but only about a third of them have licenses.

Apple had previously allowed games awaiting licenses to go live, but the process is exceptionally slow, resulting in thousands of unlicensed games in the App Store. 

Some games that feature violence or other questionable imagery stand little chance of passing China’s review, but they’ve operated successfully under the previous Apple policy. 

In February, Apple issued a reminder to Chinese game developers to obtain their licenses by June 30, though it's not known how long it’ll take Apple to remove the games once the deadline passes. The move by Apple comes as it faces two antitrust investigations by the European Union.

Some larger Chinese game developers like NetEase Inc. and Tencent Holding LTD have obtained licenses for their products, but smaller companies lack the resources to speed their games through the typically slow process. 

They could switch from their current revenue-generating models to in-app advertising to avoid the regulations, but that could hurt their games’ popularity. Another option is to merge with one of the larger companies, but that means giving up a majority share of their own company. Neither option is terribly desirable. 

Imported apps are facing even more scrutiny than Chinese games. For many U.S app makers, China represents the second-most profitable market, so losing it will be a big hit. The teleconferencing app Zoom recently gave in to the Chinese government as well, allowing China to censor certain Zoom users

China’s government is cracking down on gaming, claiming it is leading to addiction and the propagation of content deemed offensive. 

Featured Resources

How virtual desktop infrastructure enables digital transformation

Challenges and benefits of VDI

Free download

The Okta digital trust index

Exploring the human edge of trust

Free download

Optimising workload placement in your hybrid cloud

Deliver increased IT agility with the cloud

Free Download

Modernise endpoint protection and leave your legacy challenges behind

The risk of keeping your legacy endpoint security tools

Download now

Recommended

Safari bug lets websites track browsing activity and unique identifiers
web browser

Safari bug lets websites track browsing activity and unique identifiers

18 Jan 2022
El Salvador becomes latest target of Pegasus spyware
spyware

El Salvador becomes latest target of Pegasus spyware

13 Jan 2022
Mac shipments grew at twice the pace of PCs in 2021
Hardware

Mac shipments grew at twice the pace of PCs in 2021

13 Jan 2022
Apple becomes world's first $3 trillion company
business management

Apple becomes world's first $3 trillion company

4 Jan 2022

Most Popular

Sony pulls out of MWC 2022
Business operations

Sony pulls out of MWC 2022

14 Jan 2022
How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

6 Jan 2022
Dell XPS 15 (2021) review: The best just got better
Laptops

Dell XPS 15 (2021) review: The best just got better

14 Jan 2022