Apple continues to clean up games from the China App Store as it enforces new licensing requirements

Apple is in the process of removing “thousands of video game applications” from the App Store, according to a new report by the company Wall Street Journal. This happens when China tightens up unlicensed games in the country, but the removals in some cases go beyond the category of games.

Over the past month, Apple has warned Chinese developers that “a new wave of gaming applications is at risk of removal,” the report said. This process is a process that Apple has been working on for months, and the first removals began during the summer.

Apple reminded developers this month that “premium games and those purchased in apps had to submit proof of government permission by December 31.”

The release focuses on a regulation in China that requires licensing video games before release. App Store developers can actually bypass this requirement for years. For example, Apple would enable games in the App Store while waiting for a license, and in some cases simply would not apply the requirement.

Today’s report from Wall Street Journal also adds that China has also requested that Tripadvisor and over 100 other apps be removed from the App Store, without explanation:

The cleaning of app stores comes when China stepped up efforts on its Internet police, tightening controls on content and censorship, including demanding that Tripadvisor and more than 100 other apps be removed from Apple stores in that country. The Chinese Cyberspace Administration called the applications illegal, without citing violations committed by Tripadvisor or other applications, most of which are by Chinese developers. Tripadvisor declined to comment.

In a statement, an Apple spokesman explained that the App Store is subject to local regulations:

“Apple carefully studies these requests whenever we receive them and we often oppose and disagree with them,” a company spokesman said. “While the final decisions are sometimes against our wishes, we believe it is best to provide a service to our customers when we stay in the country by giving them access to products that promote self-expression while protecting world-class privacy.”

Report from Wall Street Journal cites data from Sensor Tower showing that Apple had 272,000 games in the App Store in China last year and found at least 94,000 removals from the App Store this year. By comparison, in 2019, Apple removed 25,000 games from the China App Store.

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