Apple takes down 39,000 games from Chinese app store

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The American multinational technology company, Apple has removed 39,000 gaming apps from its Chinese app store marking the biggest ever takedown in a single day.

The removal is coming amid the Chinese authority’s strict measures on unlicensed games. Apple has already set down the year-end as the deadline for all game publishers to procure required licenses to continue in the app store.

The Cupertino headquartered company has taken down more than 46,000 apps from its store, including 39,000 games. According to the report of research firm Qimai, games that got into the list of massive app removal include the French video game company Ubisoft’s  Assassin’s Creed Identity and NBA 2K20, developed by Visual Concepts. The report further added that only 74 of the top 1,500 paid games on the Apple store survived the purge.

Initially, Apple gave game publishers an end-of-June deadline to submit a government-issued license number enabling users to make in-app purchases in the world’s biggest games market, later extended it to December 31. China’s Android app stores have long complied with regulations on licenses.

Analysts say this move is in line with Apple’s continuous effort to close loopholes to follow China’s content regulators and would not directly affect Apple’s bottom line as much as previous removals.

The Chinese government has been trying to enforce stricter rules on its gaming industry to eliminate sensitive content. The approval process for games looking to enable in-app purchases is long and complicated, affecting all game developers.

“However, this major pivot to only accepting paid games that have a game license, coupled with China’s extremely low number of foreign game licenses approved this year, will probably lead more game developers to switch to an ad-supported model for their Chinese versions,” said Todd Kuhns, marketing manager for AppInChina, a firm that helps overseas companies distribute their apps.