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China implements government system for real-name login

By Todd KuhnsPublished on May 14, 2021
China implements government system for real-name login

Chinese authorities have rolled out an official tool for game developers to verify real-name logins, which is required for games in China. Dubbed the “Online Game Anti-Addiction Real-Name Authentication System”, the new system associates users with the Chinese ID number already issued by the government for every citizen. Originally intended to be released last September, it will soon be required to take the place of any third-party real-name verification systems that developers are currently using.

By law, ever since January 2020, game developers have been required to implement a real-name verification system in order to enforce the play-time and in-game purchasing limits set for minors by government law. Until now, they primarily resorted to phone numbers to associate each account with an individual and relied on third-party vendors to run the checks. The new system provides a free, centralized method of verification that is sanctioned and controlled by Chinese government authorities.

However, the system is only currently required for paid games or games with in-app payments: In other words, games that require a game license to be issued by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) in order to be published in China. Free and ad-supported games are so far exempt from the requirement. In fact, a game license number (ISBN) is required to even register an account on the new system.

Only 100% Chinese-owned companies are allowed access to the system, although this is not functionally different from the current situation, as foreign companies are not allowed to acquire a game license without partnering with a Chinese company anyway.

The anti-addiction law forbids users under 18 years old from gaming between 10pm and 8am each day, and limits playtime to 90 minutes on weekdays and three hours on weekends and other holidays. It also limits the amount of money that various age groups can spend on in-app purchases (IAP).

The law does allow for a temporary “guest mode” login, where new users can try the game for an hour before the login requirement kicks in to continue. While in guest mode, IAP are disabled.

Although game publishers can already register for an account, the new system will not go into effect until June 1.

Wait, I’m a game developer. What does this mean for me?

If you’re publishing a game in China, or even interested in doing so, the truth is that getting an official game license is becoming a more cumbersome and difficult process.

However, so far, most of these regulations do not apply to ad-supported games.

So if you are interested in publishing your game in China and to enter the world’s most lucrative and fastest-growing gaming market, we suggest converting your game to an ad-supported model with no IAP. This will greatly streamline the process of bringing your game online to as little as one to two months, compared to the year or so required to process a typical foreign game license. You will face far fewer regulatory hurdles by making this change on your side.

Keep in mind you will still need some licenses to publish your game on the Chinese app stores, including the Apple App Store China – a Software Copyright Certificate (SCC) and ICP Filing at minimum.

But our company is here to help walk you through that process as smoothly and as quickly as possible. Our international, English-speaking team is based in Beijing and has all the experience and expertise you need to bring your game to the Chinese market. We will also help you gain users through our ASO and Media User Acquisition programs. We can provide China-side hosting, cloud services, testing, and a host of other services to bring you success in China.

Send us a message today for a quick call to find out how AppInChina can help you make money in the Chinese game market.

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