China cracks down on mobile games with new approval requirement

China's ever-present grip on the Internet and everything related to it just got a little tighter. In an effort to crackdown on popular media, mobile game developers must get their games pre-approved by the Chinese government before launching them in the nation. The rule went into effect today, though it was first announced in early June. To avoid running afoul of the new regulations, developers must submit their games to China's State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film and Television, more commonly called "SAPPRFT," at least 20 days before launch.

The new requirement applies to all mobile games intended for launch in China, and involves a ridiculously convoluted system of red tape and waiting which may not ultimately prove successful. As noted by Tech in Asia, developers, upon completing their game, have to submit it (and any applicable licenses and permits) to their provincial government authority, which will spend a week deciding whether the game is complete. Assuming they don't find anything to complain about, they'll recommend it for publication and move it on to a national government authority.

That national government authority will then spend two weeks deciding whether the game, and in particular its storyline, is inline with government values and requirements. Assuming they approve it, that approval will be sent back to the original provincial office, which will then have almost a full business week to let the game developer know.

Finally, and if the game develop does get approval, the game has to be launched within 20 days of the previously stated intended launch date, and details like when exactly it launched and on what platform have to be submitted to the government. If the game launches outside of that 20-day period, the game developer has to submit an explanation about why.

Games with storylines involving the military and/or politics are at particular risk of being censored.