A young man plays a mobile game on an iPhone in an Apple store, Shanghai, China, January 19, 2019. /VCG
Apple removed more than 26,000 games from its Chinese app store on Saturday due to regulations from the Chinese press and publication authority, data from research firm Qimai showed.
The smartphone maker removed more than 2,500 titles from its app store over the first week of July. Games affected by the sweep included titles from Zynga and Supercell, research firm SensorTower reported at the time.
Earlier in July, Apple sent an email to Apple Developer, highlighting the new requirements to keep app games available.
"Chinese law requires games to obtain an approval number from China's National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA). In order to keep your paid game or game with in-app purchase available on the App Store in Chinese mainland, enter your approval number and supporting documentation ... and submit an update to Apple Review by July 31. After July 31, your game will no longer be available on the App Store in China mainland until an approval number is provided ..." according to the email.
The Chinese government has long sought to enforce stricter regulations on its gaming industry to remove sensitive content.
The number of games receiving approval numbers has been declining in recent years. This year, only 777 games received approval numbers as of July. In 2017, the number was 9,368. In 2018 and 2019, the numbers were 2,064 and 1,468, respectively.
The approval process for games looking to enable in-app purchases is long and complicated, hurting all but the largest game developers.
"This affects small- and mid-sized developers' incomes the most, but due to the difficulties of acquiring a business license, it's devastating to the whole iOS game industry in China," Todd Kuhns, marketing manager for AppInChina, a firm that helps overseas companies distribute their apps, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
(With input from Reuters)