HONG KONG (Reuters) – Apple on Thursday removed 39,000 game apps at its China store, the largest ever removal in a day, as it set a deadline for all game publishers to obtain licenses is.
The takedowns come amid Chinese authorities prohibiting unlicensed games.
Apple removed more than 46,000 apps from its store on Thursday, covering 39,000 games. According to research firm Kimai, the sweep-influenced games included Ubisoft title Assassin’s Creed Identity and NBA 2K20.
Qimai also said that only 74 of the top 1,500 paid games on the Apple Store survived the purse.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Apple initially gave game publishers a final deadline at the end of June to present a government-issued license number to enable them to make in-app purchases in the world’s largest game market.
Apple later extended the deadline to December 31.
China’s Android App Stores have complied with the rules on licensing. It is unclear why Apple is implementing them more strictly this year.
Analysts said the move came as no surprise as Apple continues to plug in to fall in line with China’s content regulators, and will not directly affect Apple’s bottom line as in previous removals.
“However, this major pivot is to only accept paid games that have a game license, which, coupled with China’s extremely low number of foreign game licenses approved this year, will likely give more game developers access to their Chinese versions. “Todd Todd Cohns, Marketing Manager for AppInChina, is a firm that helps foreign companies distribute their applications.
Reporting by Pei Li; Editing by Alex Richardson