Video Games Rule Controversy in China Leads to the Removal of Official

Controversy over video game rules in China results in an Official being removed, and we've got the details here!
Tencent Logo
Image: Tencent

In a move shrouded in ambiguity, China has removed an official overseeing its press and publications regulator. This comes days after proposed video game regulations sent shockwaves through the industry. Feng Shixin, head of the publishing unit at the Communist Party’s Publicity Department, was ousted from his position last week, according to five anonymous sources briefed on the matter.

As reported by Reuters, the Chinese government has yet to officially announce Feng’s departure. Still, sources speculate his removal is linked to the National Press and Publication Administration’s (NPPA) proposed rules. These measures, unveiled in December, aimed to restrict spending and rewards tied to video games. They also triggered an immediate plunge in major gaming stocks. Tencent’s market value plummeted by nearly $80 billion amid investor fears of another harsh crackdown.

Feng, who previously represented China at events discussing video game regulation, played a key role in policy areas like game approvals and age verification requirements. However, with the NPPA’s latest proposals sparking turmoil, his fate seems tied to the controversial rules.

Beijing’s regulatory tightening across various sectors, including technology and property, reached the gaming industry in 2021. Strict playtime limits for minors and an eight-month suspension of new game approvals marked a dramatic shift, leading to China’s gaming industry’s worst year on record in 2022. Despite the initial blow, the market bounced back in 2023, with domestic revenue rising 14%.

The NPPA’s initial hardline stance on the December proposals was met with strong public pushback. The agency softened its tone five days after the announcement, pledging to refine the regulations by “earnestly studying” public feedback. This shift suggests a potential course correction in response to industry anxieties and economic concerns.

Removing an official is a big deal, especially after Tencent was hurt. Tencent also has stock in many studios in the US, so their getting hurt can damage the industry as a whole. We’re hoping things get better, but what affects China may end up doing some damage here.

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar, also known as Aggy, is the current Assigning Editor.

He started his career as an esports, influencer, and streaming writer for Sportskeeda. He then moved to GFinity Esports to cover streaming, games, guides, and news before moving to the Social team where he ended his time as the Lead of Social Content.

He also worked a writer and editor for both Pro Game Guides and Dot Esports, and as a writer for PC Invasion, Attack of the Fanboy, and Android Police. Aggy is the former Managing Editor and Operations Overseer of N4G Unlocked and a former Gaming editor for WePC.

Throughout his time in the industry, he's trained over 100 writers, written thousands of articles on multiple sites, written more reviews than he cares to count, and edited tens of thousands of articles. He has also written some games published by Tales, some books, and a comic sold to Telus International.

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