Apple Inc. removed over 30,000 apps, of which 90% were games, from its Chinese iPhone App Store on Saturday. Qimai Research Institute revealed that this crackdown began in June and gained momentum in July. It ends the unofficial practice of allowing games to be published while awaiting approval from Beijing’s censors, which all titles that are paid or off in-app purchases must obtain.
China is one of Apple’s largest markets for selling digital goods and services, with the iPhone maker typically taking a 30% cut from such transactions. The Cupertino, California-based company’s culling efforts highlights a more forceful stance from the Chinese government when it comes to gaming.
In February, Apple had given app developers June 30 deadline to prove they had a licence for their games. The company, last month, froze updates for thousands of iOS mobile games lacking an official licence; on July 8, it had warned developers of app removals should their apps not meet regulatory requirements.
Apple took to actively removing the games on August 1, and this led to more than 26,000 gamed being purged from the Apple App Store in a single day. As per the latest figure, 1,41,891 apps have been removed in total. The loophole only existed on the iPhone, as local Chinese Android vendors already adhered to the rule without exception. After the Saturday purge, about 179,000 games were remaining in Apple’s China store, of which 160,000 were removed, said a report in Bloomberg.
This will also have an impact on Tencent Holdings Ltd and ByteDance Ltd as they used to advertise on these gaming apps. Regulators, cite concerns about the proliferation of addiction among minors and the dissemination of offensive content, adopt a much stricter and slower review process. Sources said imported games are particularly under tight scrutiny. The App loophole served as a last resort for getting some of them distributed in the world’s largest mobile game arena.