China's video game player count has reached a record-breaking 668 million, according to a government-run game industry association. This growth signifies a return to prosperity for the world's largest gaming market, following a harsh crackdown.
As of the end of June, this figure represents approximately half of the country's population.
During an industry conference in Shanghai, the CGIGC (China Game Industry Development Blue Book Committee) announced that the sales revenue of the domestic gaming market for the first half of this year amounted to 144.263 billion yuan ($20.23 billion).
Zhang Yijun, a director at the CGIGC, expressed optimism about the industry's future, stating that China's gaming industry is gradually emerging from a slump and displaying an upward trend.
Last year, China experienced a decline in its gamer population due to a government crackdown on the gaming industry. This crackdown was initiated to address concerns about gaming addiction.
As a result of the crackdown, major domestic gaming companies like Tencent Holdings and NetEase suffered significant losses in revenue and market value.
Although, the gaming industry has not yet fully recovered from the impact of the crackdown. Sales revenue for the first half of 2021 decreased from 150.493 billion yuan to 144.263 billion yuan.
Authorities halted the approval of new games for about eight months from 2021 to 2022 as part of a crackdown. However, regulations have now been relaxed.
The latest batch of game licenses was granted by regulators on Wednesday, allowing 88 games to be released in July.
According to Alicia Yap, an analyst at Citi Bank, around 90 games were approved each month in 2023. This totals to 1,000-1,100 domestic games for the entire year, almost double the figures from 2022.
Yap expressed confidence in a steady domestic game approval process in the second half of this year.
State-media Securities Daily reported on Wednesday that the rate of game launches in China remains slow. Out of the 88 games approved as of January, only 23 have been launched or have a confirmed launch date.
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