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China’s video game makers come in from the cold as crackdown eases

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The crackdown was aimed at curbing gaming addiction among youth and purging content the government did not approve of, with companies asked to delete content that was violent, deemed to celebrate wealth or foster the worship of celebrities.

That sent game sales in China tumbling more than 10 per cent to 269.5 billion yuan (US$40.1 billion) in 2022, the first decline since figures became available in 2003, according to a report by CNG, a government-backed industry data firm.

In November last year, Tencent, the world’s biggest gaming company, reported its domestic gaming revenue shrank 7 per cent in the third quarter. Its overall gaming revenue fell 4.45 per cent.

Shares of Tencent, China’s most valuable company, dropped 24.7 per cent in 2022 but have risen 21 per cent so far this year, recouping nearly all of last year’s losses. NetEase’s Hong Kong stock, which dropped 27.3 per cent in 2022, is up 21.4 per cent this year.

Tencent and NetEase did not respond to request for comment.

REGULATORY THAW

Also providing investors some cause for hope are the larger budgets of the games now being approved, a sign publishers are willing to invest more in the improving regulatory…

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