24-Apr-19, Zawya

China’s video-game industry needs a predictable boss. After a freeze on approvals for most of last year, officials last week issued new guidelines for applications that point to a future of fewer titles and blander content. The whims of a revamped regulator finding its feet mean the industry still deserves a discount.

Chinas game makers face a shapeshifting boss (c) Getty Images Towfiqu Photography Zawya

Image: Getty Images / Towfiqu Photography / Zawya

A bureaucratic reshuffle last year, in part to give greater authority to the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda department, may have led to the surprising regulatory halt for licences that allow firms to earn income from titles, for instance, via in-game purchases.

The education ministry also took aim at developers in its effort to combat myopia among children. The latter move alone shaved about USD20 bn off Tencent’s market capitalisation. Although approvals resumed in December, fewer than 800 titles were approved in the first quarter to the end of March this year, down from nearly 2,000 during the same period last year.

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