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Today, Apple notified developers that iOS games that are paid or have in-app purchases and do not have the required game license from the Chinese government will be removed from the Apple App Store China by August 1.
If your iOS game falls in this category, we’ve already posted some emergency steps you can take right now.
But most of the developers we have spoken with this last week are torn between two longer-term options:
Before you decide which route you should take, here are some factors to consider.
At present, updating your iOS game without entering the required game license approval number will remove your game from the Apple App Store China. However, we have confirmed that if you change the category from “game” to something like “entertainment” or “education”, the required approval number field disappears from the developer console and your app will remain available in China, even after update.
So currently the quickest fix would seem to be changing the category of your offending app from “game” to another category that can fit it equally well.
But before you settle on this solution, please weigh these caveats:
Making your mobile iOS game 100% legal in China is the best long-term strategy to keep it available to Chinese consumers. However, keep this in mind:
Neither of these two options are perfect. But with three weeks of lead time, a third option may be possible for you, depending on your situation: Create and upload a separate version of your game for the Chinese market that is free and/or ad-supported, and encourage your Chinese users to switch to that version.
This can be implemented while you are readying your game license application in China. By listing this version as a second app and encouraging your new users to switch over to it, you can continue to build your user base and generate ad-revenue. This may not be feasible for all developers – and remember, you will still need to pull it down once you submit your application for review.
Or maybe you’ll just decide to keep your ad-supported game exclusively for the China market. Just remember that China law states that ALL games must receive a game license. In practice, that has not been enforced for ad-supported games yet, but anything can change in this landscape.
Of course, helping foreign app and game developers publish in China and navigate the complexities of the Chinese market is our specialty. We can publish your game for you. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to send us a message.
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