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China removes proposed bans on monetisation tactics from government website

China may have reconsidered its divisive proposed regulations for bans against monetisation and engagement tactics.

The BBC reported that the draft for the proposals, which were published on the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) website in December, have now been removed.

As we reported when they were first published, the suggested regulations included bans on several widely-used mechanisms in games, such as daily log-in rewards and incentives for repeat or first-time spenders.

Share prices for leading China-based games companies, including Tencent and NetEase dropped sharply after the draft was first released. But the BBC reported these have jumped since the proposals were removed on Tuesday, which is being read as a U-turn on the controversial measures.

The dip in stocks caused by the new regulations was severe enough that it was reportedly a key factor in the dismissal of the head of the publishing unit from the Communist Party’s Publicity Department at the end of the year.

The Chinese government has been cracking down on the games industry in various ways over the past few years, most notably with restrictions in 2021 on play time for minors and stricter rules around the depictions of religion and gender.

There have also been two nine-month freezes on the NPPA granting publishing licences for new video games, although this appears to be easing as more games were approved in 2023 than in the previous two years.

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