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China cracks down on livestreams of “unauthorised” games

China is reportedly stepping up its regulations around streaming “unauthorised” video games.

As reported by Reuters (thanks, PC Gamer), Chinese government agency The National Radio and Television Administration has justified the move by insisting that “for a period of time, issues such as chaotic online livestreaming and teenage addiction to games have raised widespread concerns in society and effective measures need to be taken urgently”.

The statement seemingly comes after some fans were able to view games China deems as “unauthorised” – such as Elden Ring – via Chinese streaming platforms, even though many are not available to buy in the country.

“Earlier this year, Elden Ring was a hit on Chinese game live streaming platforms reaching 17.1 million cumulative daily average viewers, despite not having a license,” explained industry analyst, Daniel Ahmad.

“China’s regulation around video games continues to focus on compliance and enforcement. Games have always required a license before they can be distributed or streamed in China. The latter was rarely enforced. Now it will be,” Ahmad added on Twitter.

“What this means in practice is that unless your game is approved by the regulator, it is going to be very difficult for it to get visibility via live streaming, short video, advertisement or other platforms / channels.

“It still remains to be seen if this will be fully enforced across all games,” Ahmad said. “In the past this was confined to games that were specifically mentioned by name and banned by regulators, such as GTAV being banned.”

It’s the latest battle in China’s ongoing saga against video games. Even seemingly innocent titles like Animal Crossing: New Horizons have been in the crosshairs after it was used by Hong Kong protesters and others to create politically sensitive user-generated content.

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