In a move that is seen as the biggest removal ever in a single day, Apple has deleted some 39,000 mobile games from its Chinese app store, according to Reuters.
The mass removal comes as Apple initiated a year-end crackdown on unlicensed games by Chinese authorities. As a result, including the 39,000 pulled games, the company took down a total of 46,000 apps from the Chinese iOS app store on New Year’s Eve. As cited by Reuters, the research firm Qimai said only 74 of the top 1,500 paid games made it through the purge.
Publishers had until December 31, extended from end-of-July initially, to submit a government-issued license number allowing the use of in-app purchases in their games. The titles affected include the mobile-exclusive Assassin’s Creed Identity and NBA 2K20, according to Qimai. It’s unclear which others games have been removed from the app store.
A law has been in place in China since 2016 that mandated all paid games with in-app purchases must be approved by the country’s National Press and Publication Administration, the government body that approves game releases. Android stores have enforced this law for years, but loopholes on the iOS market let games launch in China without license numbers. Apple warned developers by deleting over 8,000 games in a single week in early July 2020.
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