iOS gamers, developers, and publishers in China are set for a big shock on July 1 as an estimated 20,000 games are set to quickly disappear from the App Store.
As Bloomberg reports, every iOS game released to the Chinese market that either offers in-app purchases or requires an upfront payment to play, needs a license from government regulators. However, until now there’s been a loophole which allowed these games to be published on the App Store while they waited for license approval. It seems everyone was using the loophole, even big names like Rockstar for titles including Grand Theft Auto. Next month, though, the flouting of the licensing rules comes to a crashing halt.
Apple is set to enforce the need for a license and remove any game that doesn’t have one from the App Store. In total, there’s about 60,000 games available for iOS in China that fall under the paid/in-app purchase rules, and roughly a third of those currently rely on the loophole. In other words, Apple is tasked with removing around 20,000 games on July 1, with June 30 being the deadline for approval. At the pace the Chinese government licenses new games, it’s very unlikely the vast majority will gain approval in time, and let’s face it, I’m sure many never would have.
The enforcement has been known about since February, but apparently Apple was less than clear as to how serious it was regarding enforcement. Clearly that uncertainty is now removed and iOS gamers in China should prepare themselves for much less choice in a little over a week’s time.