The Chinese government has left an open loophole that allows people to access unauthorized video games for years, but now it’s ready to close it. Foreign titles often lack a Chinese publisher to assist them in acquiring a license, so they rely on accelerators to reduce delays.

It was announced Wednesday that Tencent, the world’s largest online gaming company, is ceasing to offer its gaming booster service that allows users to play overseas games.

However, it is not explicitly stated in the notice, but some users see the decision as an attempt by the authorities to limit access to foreign gaming sites. Similar services continue to be offered by NetEase, Tencent’s rival.

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Chinese state broadcaster China National Radio and Television Administration, which licenses video game developers, said on Friday livestreaming of unlicensed games would be prohibited.

A notice states that platforms, including individual and business accounts, should obtain approval before broadcasting overseas games or matches.
Since China has slowed down the approval process for new games over the past few years, this will substantially reduce the number of games that China’s livestreaming hosts can discuss.

There may not be many foreign titles available in China, but on the country’s live broadcasting platforms like Huya and Douyu, commentary and matches of blockbuster international games are often shown.

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The government has issued similar warnings in the past. For instance, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, which regulates gaming but does not issue licenses, stated in a blanket regulation for “internet performances” in 2016 that platforms “should not” include commentary on unlicensed games, a weaker statement compared to the latest document.

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