TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Apple pulled 29,800 apps from its China app store on Saturday, including more than 26,000 games, according to Qimai Research Institute.
The removals are in response to Beijing's crackdown on unlicensed games, which started in June and intensified in July, Bloomberg reported. This brings an end to the unofficial practice of letting games be published while awaiting approval from Chinese censors.
All titles that are purchasable or offer in-app purchases must first obtain approval from the authorities. The loophole previously only existed for iPhone users, as Chinese Android vendors had already been complying with the regulations.
The application process to get games approved for in-app purchases is long and complicated, making it especially difficult for smaller game developers, industry insiders told Reuters. Imported games face particularly tight scrutiny.
Earlier in the year, Apple gave developers and publishers a deadline to submit a government-issued license number allowing users to make in-app purchases, according to Reuters. The company said that any unlicensed games would be banned and removed after July 31.
China is one of Apple’s largest markets for digital goods and services, with the Cupertino-based company normally earning a 30 percent cut from such sales, per Bloomberg.
It has long been a goal of Beijing to enforce even tighter regulations on the gaming industry to remove content it deems sensitive. Chinese censors have recently adopted a much stricter and slower review process, citing concerns about gaming addiction among minors and the proliferation of offensive content.