Across the first week of July, more than 2,500 mobile games were taken off Apple’s China App Store, which is four times as many as during the same period in June, with Apple closing a loophole to comply with Chinese license requirements, according to data from SensorTower.
Revenue-generating games had been given an end of June deadline by Apple to submit a government-issued license number to show that they give users the option to make in-app purchases, something that Android has required users in China to do for a long time.
The reasoning behind Apple’s reluctance to allow the loophole to exist for so long is still unknown.
Some of the games that were taken off from China’s App Store in July so far include Supercell’s farming hit ‘Hay Day’, Flaregames’s ‘Nonstop Chuck Norris’, and also the classic ‘Solitaire’ from American game developer Zynga, according to SensorTower’s data.
Randy Nelson, head of Mobile Insights at SensorTower, claimed that whilst there is a possibility that “these games will be available again in future,” they “have been gone from the storefront for more than five days”.
Whilst SensorTower could not determine the exact reason for each individual game’s reason for removal, the very sharp increase was notable.
The games that were removed during the first seven days of July had made a total of €30.43 million in lifetime gross revenue in China, and had been downloaded a staggering 133 million times in the country.
In recent years, China had increased its control over the world’s biggest videogame market, with online games that were seeking to monetise now having to face a very long approval process in order to obtain a license.
Last February, worldwide hit ‘Plague Inc’, which continued to increase in popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was completely removed from Apple’s China App Store after regulators deemed it to have illegal content.
‘Plague Inc’ did not have a proper license, and analysts also stated that it was probably never going to get one anyway.