Online game developers in China felt the direct impact of an easing of tech restrictions by the government, with the sector’s regulator issuing licences to 88 domestic titles after a lengthy moratorium.

The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) published a list of recent approvals for the domestic market, which included three games from Tencent, the country’s largest gaming company.

Last month the NPPA approved licences for 44 overseas releases, a clear signal the government had started to back off an aggressive crackdown on gaming which resulted in new restrictions being introduced as authorities aimed to curb children’s screen time and combat addiction.

In April 2022 licences were issued for the first batch of games since the NPPA halted the review of new titles in August 2021, but this didn’t include products from Tencent or NetEase, reckoned to be China’s two biggest developers.

China’s video gaming market is apparently the largest in the world, generating revenue of CNY269.5 billion ($40.1 billion) in 2022, down 10.3 per cent year-on-year, South China Morning Post reported, citing data from the Gaming Publishing Committee of the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association.

The government increased scrutiny of domestic tech companies and introduced stricter regulations covering competition, user privacy and child projection in late 2020.