Apple Deletes 39,000 Games From Chinese App Store

Apple has removed tens of thousands of gaming apps from its Chinese app store, in order to comply with strict rules from Chinese authorities.

The iPhone maker removed 39,000 game apps on its China store on Thursday, which is its biggest removal ever in a single day, in order to comply with year-end deadline for all game publishers to obtain a licence, Reuters reported.

This is not the first time Apple has bowed to Chinese regulations. In 2018 Apple removed 25,000 illegal lottery apps from its app store in China after criticism from state media outlets.

App purge

And then in 2017 Apple removed hundreds of VPN apps from the China App Store, including ExpressVPN, VyprVPN and StarVPN, saying they breached local laws.

ExpressVPN at the time responded by accusing Apple of ‘siding with censorship’.

China is known for its ‘Great Chinese Firewall,’ a phrase coined because of the country’s strict online surveillance regulations that saw the adoption in 2015 of a controversial cyber security law that gives the government even more control over the internet in that country.

And it seems the country is currently engaged in a crackdown on unlicensed games.

The 39,000 games Apple removed on Thursday was part of 46,000 apps the iPad maker deleted from its Chinese app store, Reuters reported.

Among the games removed were the Ubisoft title Assassin’s Creed Identity and NBA 2K20.

It cited Qimai research, which said only 74 of the top 1,500 paid games on Apple store survived the purge.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It is reported that Apple had given game publishers an end-of-June deadline to submit a government-issued licence number, enabling users to make in-app purchases in the world’s biggest games market.

Apple later extended the deadline to 31 December.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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