Happy Dragon Boat Festival!
The Dragon Boat Festival (Duanwu Festival) is a traditional holiday that commemorates the life and death of the famous Chinese scholar Qu Yuan (Chu Yuan). The festival occurs on the fifth day of the fifth month on the Chinese lunar calendar.
We have seen a rising trend in Asia, especially in China, as mobile games are often ported over to emulators and played on computers instead of actually played on mobile devices. Kakao’s recently announced partnership with Nox App to make their games available on PCs makes complete sense with what we are seeing in gamers – many PC games are interested in playing mobile games, but they’d rather play them on their home devices (and on a bigger screen without the limitations of a smartphone’s battery).
China is not the only country in Asia preparing for more regulation and oversight for their growing games industry – Indonesia has also announced more rules for their online game industry. In an effort to protect children, Indonesia’s Communication and Informatics Minister has stated that evaluation of games will be coming up soon to prevent the spread of pornographic materials and gambling features in games. According to InsideGamesAsia, “The regulation, Minister Rudiantara explained, will be issued to allow parents to monitor online game applications used by their children. Rudiantara added that regulation will also classify games based on its users’ age.”
Within a month, AskTao Mobile (the mobile version of the PC MMORPG AskTao, released in 2006) has made over RMB 400 million (approximately $60 million USD) and reached over 6 million active users. 12 years ago, back when the only genres available in China were MMORPG and casual games, AskTao started its quick and long standing ascent to become a Top 10 MMORPG. Some observers say that the title was a little too much like Ragnarok Online (RO), and even some other popular titles such as Fantasy Westward Journey. But the popularity remains, and now the mobile game is following suit.
China’s state-run news agency, China News Service, has reported that everyone in China who buys a SIM card for mobile number, even foreigners, will need to show ID or another form of valid identification to make sure they are using their real names. More than 100 million SIM cards haven’t been registered with real names although the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has required people to use real names for mobile phone number for more than 6 years. Real-name registration, in theory, protects Internet users from online crime and will makes government censorship easier to enforce.
China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television agency (SAPPRFT) has announced new changes to the regulatory approval process for mobile games moving forward. Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners, was interviewed by VentureBeat on how this affects developers and we will be following the development of this regulation closely.
Here’s a translated version of what the notice states, and if you have any questions on how this pertains to your business, please contact us:
1. Mobile games that this notice refers to include all downloadable or internet connected games on smart devices such as smart phones, etc.
2. Game publishing institutions refer to those who review the game content, report publishing games and publication number.
3. For publishing simple non-story-based match-3, running, flying, chess and card, puzzle, sports, music & dancing casual domestic games that DO NOT touch political, military, ethnic, religious topics, please follow the following rules:
1). Fill out the “Domestic Mobile Games Publishing Application Form” and submit it to SAPPRFT at least 20 business days before releasing the game.
2). A province-level government organization will need to finish following work within 5 business days: review of the application including all required materials and documents.
If so, submit a province-level suggestion report along with the application packet to SAPPRFT.
If not, return the application materials with written explanations to the applicant.
3). SAPPRFT will make a decision on approval or not within 10 business days after receiving the application packet from the province-level body of government. The province-level government organization will send a notice to the game publishing company with the results within 3 business days after receiving SAPPRFT’s decision.
4). The game publishing company will need to publish the game according to all the requirements listed on the approval document and report the releasing date, download link and other operational details such as the institution’s name and pre-paid info to the local province-level government organization within 7 business days after the game is released. If the company cannot put the game online 20 days after the scheduled release date, the company needs to report the reason to the province-level government organization.
4. For publishing domestic games that are not covered by rule #3, please follow instructions listed in “Further Notice on Regulating Publishing of Oversea Internet Gaming Authorization and Video Games Application Materials” (“Further Notice”) and “Notice on Anti-Addition of Online Games and Real-name Verification Work”.
5. For publishing licensing oversea games, please follow “Further Notice” and “Notice on Anti-Addiction of Online Games and Real-name Verification Work”.
6. If an approved mobile game has updates or sequel products (meaning, there are changes in story plot, quests, maps, characters, interaction features, etc.), please use the old title and add a sub-title to the product. For example, “New XXX” or “XXX 2”. And consider the game as a new product and follow the application instructions in this notice to get approved again.
7. If an approved mobile game has switched publishing companies, game titles or their main operational institution, please submit materials that show the changes to the province-level government organization and the province-level government organization will report to SAPPRFT.
8. When game is released, the game publishing company will need to make sure the game content is complete. Before the game starts, after showing the “Healthy Gaming Notice”, the publisher will need to put a separate page to list the game’s copyright owner, publishing company, approval number, publication number, etc.
9. When jointly operating a game, both companies will need to review and make sure that the game has completed all of the application and censorship process.
10. All phone and tablet manufacturers need to make sure the games that are pre-installed on their devices have completed the application and censorship process.
11. All province-level publishing administration offices will need to recruit enough talent and technical devices.
12. If a game is approved and released in a different region than where the game’s publisher is, the other province-level government organization is in charge of the censorship work and the game publisher’s local government needs to co-operate.
13. This notice will take effect on July 1, 2016.
Follow us on Twitter @nikochina to see these comments in real time as we publish them! Here are a few of our tweets from last week: