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Home Blog App Store News Games Without Approval Number Will Not Be Available In App Store

Games Without Approval Number Will Not Be Available In App Store

Dec 21 2020

December 31st is the deadline for games without approval number to remove from Apple’s App Store China. According to the new policy, if you do not submit the paid/in-app purchase game approval number, the game will be removed from the app store. In fact, this is the third time that Apple has asked game developers to provide game approval numbers this year. In February of this year, Apple has already sent a message to Chinese developers, requiring that the game approval number be submitted before June 30, and that overseas games must also have a game approval number before they can be launched into app store in China. 

Recently, many developers have received related emails from Apple:
App Store news about Game Approval Number

Who will be affected by the new regulations?

At present, the email notifications are basically paid games or games with in-app purchases that are currently online.

The content of the email clearly requires that paid games and games with in-app purchases should provide game approval numbers and supporting documents before December 31. We will continue to monitor and synchronize relevant news on New Year's Day or when Apple requires a approval number for paid or in-app purchase games.

Interpretation of the detailed rules of Apple's new game approval number regulations

The App Store’s management of game approval numbers is becoming stricter and irreversible. Up to now in 2020, Apple has carried out 4 major actions on approval numbers:


  • In February, Apple released new regulations


In February of this year, Apple updated a message on the backstage review page of the App Store: “According to Chinese law, the game needs to obtain an approval number issued by the General Administration of Press and Publishing House. Therefore, please provide a plan before June 30, 2020. Approval number of any paid game released in mainland China or games that can provide in-app purchase items."

  • On July 1st, multiple approval number submission prompts appeared in the iTC background

On July 1, multiple sections of the iTC backend showed prompts for online game publication numbers for paid games or games that include in-app purchases, and provided an entry to fill in the approval number in the App category.

  • On July 8, Apple emailed the result of "Online Game"

On July 8, Apple sent an email to some developers to notify that the approval number information of the paid/in-app purchase game will not be submitted before July 31. After July 31, the game will no longer be available on the App Store China. .

  • December 2nd, Apple email notification: The game approval number is required before December 31st

On December 2, Apple sent an email to some developers to notify that paid games or games with in-app purchases need to enter the game approval number and supporting files in the App Information section of the game page of App Store Connect, and send a notification to them before December 31 APP Review submits the update. After December 31, games that are not submitted as required will not be displayed on the App Store in China until the game approval number is provided during the next submission.

How do paid games or games with in-app purchases deal with the new regulations?

With the release of the new regulations, there is no "safe haven" for games without a approval number. Imported games have been most affected by the "Static Net" operation. Strict control of the game market with approval numbers began in 2016, and the approval of Publication Administration was tightened in 2018. The approval number has officially become the baton of the game market, but Apple has always allowed individual and corporate developers to put games without a approval number on the shelves, which is a clear violation of the above regulations and has become the last "safe haven" for these games without a approval number.

In particular, many imported games have entered the Chinese market through the App Store although they have not obtained a approval number. In addition to imported games, some independent games that are difficult to obtain approval numbers can also be easily found in the Apple App Store, and they are all removed this time.

What should a game without approval number do?

1) Try to eliminate in-app purchases and make money with ad placement;

2) Accumulate users in oversea markets first, and then attack the Chinese market after getting the approval number.

How to apply for the approval number for paid games or games with in-app purchases?

App Store New Regulations

What is the game approval number?

The game approval number is equivalent to publishing the game and obtaining a unique code. Unless your company has the "Network Publishing Service License", you have to find a qualified publisher to publish it and submit it to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television for review.

Now the game approval number is divided into: domestic game approval number and imported game approval number.

Domestic game approval numbers refer to games developed by Chinese game developers themselves. If your company self-developed a game called "A", you first need to apply for a "software copyright certificate" for "A". This certificate is handled at the Copyright Bureau.

The introduction of the game approval number is from a foreign developer, and the review in China is relatively strict. First, you need to apply for the "Copyright Contract Recording", which is to take the contract or authorization signed by the agency company and the developer.

About ICP certificate and text certificate

To apply for the game approval number, whether it is a domestic or imported version of the game, an ICP certificate is required. An ICP certificate can prove that your company has the ability to operate the game. In this way, the operating unit on the issue of the game approval number is the unit that provides the ICP certificate. Moreover, it is very troublesome to change this operating unit, so it is best for a company to have its own ICP certificate.

The department of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television is responsible for the approval of game approval numbers. The electronic files are as follows:

1) Scanned copy of game copyright

2) Scanned copy of business license of development company

3) Scanned copy of operating company business license

4) Scanned copy of operating company ICP

5) Part of the content to be filled in the application form for publishing domestic mobile game works

6) Game video (the duration of game demonstration video is not less than 10 minutes)

The video shall show healthy game advice, game title, main interface of the game, all character images, and all accessible scenes;
All systems that can be experienced. Those with a combat system must show the actual combat effects in the game, and the duration should not be less than 2 minutes;
Computer online games (PC, web games, console games) must also display anti-addiction tips and profitability at each key point in time.

7) Game installation package

8) Screenshots of game screens


Please insert the screenshots into the word document, and name the file "4-"XXXX" game screen shots". The number of pictures should not be less than 10, which can fully reflect the core content and basic features of the game, including at least 1 A picture of the main interface of the game with the game name and a screenshot showing the function of blocking words.

9) The full text of the Chinese script of the game work refers to the set of all Chinese characters appearing in the game, including but not limited to system prompts, NPC dialogues, task plot descriptions, game item names, etc.

Different types of games may experience the different approval time

Different types of games require different approval times. Taking casual puzzle domestically produced games as an example, firstly, game companies need to reserve one month to submit the game to the publishing unit for the publishing unit to issue amendments; secondly, the application unit will The materials are submitted to the local provincial publication management department, and then submitted to the National Press and Publication Administration for approval, which will take one month; finally, the General Administration will approve the application within 80 working days, which will take at least two months.

Therefore, it takes at least four months to obtain a approval number even for domestically produced casual puzzle games, while the approval of domestically-produced and imported games for non-casual puzzle takes longer. Earlier news said that Apple plans to give a half-year grace period for games without a approval number, but in the end only one month.

What kind of game can get a approval number? Which types of games have a high pass rate?

Judging from the hundreds of games approved this year, the order of approval is related to the submission and acceptance time of game application materials. In addition, the information that can be deciphered from these approved products includes:

1) Large companies such as Tencent and NetEase do not have advantages;
2) There are not many companies with "goodwill impairment" listed in the 2018 annual financial reports of listed companies;
3) Games adapted from animation, comics, and novels are worthy of attention.

According to statistics, before obtaining the game approval number, these approved game companies have made different changes according to the product itself and market demand. Before getting the approval number, many companies will launch casual or strategy games suitable for the global market overseas. After getting the approval number, most products will be modified to meet the needs of the domestic market.

Compared with original games, adapted games have more advantages in user acquisition.

1) Because the original book has accumulated a certain fan base, this will bring a group of users to the new tour.

2) Whether it is novels, comics, animations, or even TV series, even if the season is over, rebroadcasts, sequels, etc. will keep the IP fresh.

3) The gathering of IP on Weibo, Tieba, video websites, etc. is conducive to the promotion of the game and the acquisition of core users.

4) The degree of commercialization of animation, comics and other content itself is not high, and games are still an important monetization method. IP parties are willing to invest in the development and publicity of games.

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