China cracks down on livestreaming of ‘unauthorized’ games

Regulators reminded companies broadcasting certain titles is "strictly forbidden."

·1 min read
Zhang Peng via Getty Images

China has signaled it will begin actively enforcing regulation that forbids the livestreaming of unauthorized games. Per Reuters, the country’s National Radio and Television Administration said on Friday all internet platforms are “strictly forbidden” from streaming titles that the government has not approved.

According to video game industry analyst Daniel Ahmad, China has always required that games be officially licensed before they can be distributed or streamed within the country, but it rarely enforced the latter ban. That behavior allowed games such as Elden Ring, a title that’s not officially approved for sale in China, to find substantial audiences on platforms like Huya. Ahmad notes that FromSoftware’s latest garnered approximately 17 million cumulative daily average viewers in its first week of release.

“What this means in practice is that unless your game is approved by the [National Radio and Television Administration], it is going to be very difficult for it to get visibility via live streaming, short video, advertisement or other platforms [and] channels,” Ahmad said.

China has become increasingly tough on video games in recent years. Last summer, the country began enforcing a three-hour weekly limit on the amount of time children can play online video games. At the time of the ban, a state-owned news outlet described the medium as “spiritual opium.” The National Radio and Television Administration employed similar rhetoric, claiming issues like teenage addiction necessitated the need for urgent action on video game livestreaming.