Daily Management Review

China Has Banned Livestreaming Of Unlicensed Games As Part Of Its Latest Gaming Crackdown


China Has Banned Livestreaming Of Unlicensed Games As Part Of Its Latest Gaming Crackdown
China announced on Friday that livestreaming of unlicensed video games is prohibited, signalling a tightening of regulations as part of a broader assault on the gaming sector aimed at removing content the government does not approve of.
Platforms of all kinds, according to the National Radio and Television Administration, must not livestream games that have not been approved by relevant authorities.
It said that livestreamers should avoid "abnormal aesthetics" and detrimental celebrity fan culture, and that livestreaming of abroad games or tournaments should not be done without permission.
"For a period of time, issues such as chaotic online livestreaming and teenage addiction to games have raised widespread concerns in society and effective measures need to be taken urgently," the regulator said in a notice on its website.
While unlicensed games could not be formally distributed in mainland China, many were marketed on livestreaming platforms such as Huya Inc, DouYu International Holdings, and Bilibili Inc, according to Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst at research company Niko Partners.
"Earlier this year, Elden Ring was a hit on Chinese game live streaming platforms reaching 17.1 million cumulative daily average viewers, despite not having a license," he said.
Last year, China enacted new regulations limiting the amount of time under the age of 18 can spend playing video games to three hours per week, citing the need to prevent gaming addiction.
It also imposed a licence freeze, which was only lifted last week after gambling companies made significant changes to their business procedures.
Companies have been told to remove information that is aggressive, celebrates money, or promotes celebrity worship.
Tencent Holdings Ltd, China's largest gaming company, announced on Thursday that it will shut down a programme that allowed Chinese players to play unlicensed international games on foreign platforms.
It was unclear how this latest prohibition would affect the stocks of big Chinese gaming and livestreaming companies. The Hong Kong stock exchange was closed for a holiday on Friday, while Huya and DouYu were listed in the United States.
The ban "could impact game companies quite significantly if it is strictly implemented," said Charles Yu, head of law firm Pillar Legal's Shanghai office.
There were no comments from the issue from Tencent, DouYu, Huya, and Bilibili.