Apple to remove thousands of unlicensed iPhone games in China

Apple App Store is removing games permitted to operate in China while awaiting licenses

Apple has removed tens of thousands of unlicensed Chinese apps from its iOS App Store. 

China’s government requires all games purchased, or those that offer in-app purchases, to go through a review process to get approval for licensing before publication. Currently, the Chinese iOS App Store has approximately 60,000 games, but only about a third of them have licenses.

Apple had previously allowed games awaiting licenses to go live, but the process is exceptionally slow, resulting in thousands of unlicensed games in the App Store. 

Some games that feature violence or other questionable imagery stand little chance of passing China’s review, but they’ve operated successfully under the previous Apple policy. 

In February, Apple issued a reminder to Chinese game developers to obtain their licenses by June 30, though it's not known how long it’ll take Apple to remove the games once the deadline passes. The move by Apple comes as it faces two antitrust investigations by the European Union.

Some larger Chinese game developers like NetEase Inc. and Tencent Holding LTD have obtained licenses for their products, but smaller companies lack the resources to speed their games through the typically slow process. 

They could switch from their current revenue-generating models to in-app advertising to avoid the regulations, but that could hurt their games’ popularity. Another option is to merge with one of the larger companies, but that means giving up a majority share of their own company. Neither option is terribly desirable. 

Imported apps are facing even more scrutiny than Chinese games. For many U.S app makers, China represents the second-most profitable market, so losing it will be a big hit. The teleconferencing app Zoom recently gave in to the Chinese government as well, allowing China to censor certain Zoom users

China’s government is cracking down on gaming, claiming it is leading to addiction and the propagation of content deemed offensive. 

Featured Resources

Four cyber security essentials that your board of directors wants to know

The insights to help you deliver what they need

Download now

Data: A resource much too valuable to leave unprotected

Protect your data to protect your company

Download now

Improving cyber security for remote working

13 recommendations for security from any location

Download now

Why CEOS should care about the move to SAP S/4HANA

And how they can accelerate business value

Download now

Recommended

Apple unveils updated Mac lineup powered by its new M1 chip
Hardware

Apple unveils updated Mac lineup powered by its new M1 chip

10 Nov 2020
Apple will require developers to add privacy nutrition labels to apps
privacy

Apple will require developers to add privacy nutrition labels to apps

6 Nov 2020
Apple will replace crackling AirPods Pro for free
Hardware

Apple will replace crackling AirPods Pro for free

3 Nov 2020
Apple reportedly ramps up search engine development
iOS

Apple reportedly ramps up search engine development

29 Oct 2020

Most Popular

80% of cyber professionals say the Computer Misuse Act is working against them
Security

80% of cyber professionals say the Computer Misuse Act is working against them

20 Nov 2020
Cisco acquires container security startup Banzai Cloud
Security

Cisco acquires container security startup Banzai Cloud

18 Nov 2020
What is phishing?
phishing

What is phishing?

25 Nov 2020