First fine for Chinese firm over unlicensed game

A notice about the fine on a Chinese government website

Image caption

A notice announcing the fine appeared on a Chinese government website

A game launched in China without government approval has landed the company behind it with a heavy fine.

It is the first time authorities have taken such action in China, where developers must seek a licence for games before distributing them.

In this case, the unnamed company that fell foul of the law has been fined seven times the revenue it earned from the game, or 700,000 yuan (£75,800).

Authorities said the game was a mobile title, made by a firm in Beijing.

According to Abacus News, which first reported the fine, Chinese officials recently lifted a freeze on the licensing of new games but are still not approving as many titles as they used to before the freeze.

China’s stance on video games has become increasingly strict in recent years.

Last month, the country launched a new curfew for online gamers under the age of 18 meaning they are now banned from playing between 22:00 and 08:00.

Sessions are also limited to 90 minutes on weekdays and three hours at weekends.

Gaming remains hugely popular in the country.

In the five years to 2023, the number of mobile gamers in China is expected to rise from 598 million to 728 million, according to market research firm Niko.

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