China Approves Valorant and Pokemon Unite for Release in the Country
China has approved the release of 44 international games, including the popular esports titles Valorant and Pokemon Unite, in the country. As first reported by Reuters, The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) published the list of approved games, marking the end of an 18-month freeze on the approval process for international games in China.
Tencent Holdings will publish five of the approved games, including Valorant and Pokemon Unite. The decision to lift restrictions on international games is a major development for the Chinese gaming industry and companies such as Tencent and NetEase Inc, which were impacted by the freeze on approvals.
Valorant’s approval in China is a massive win for Riot and Tencent
The approval of Valorant (which will be called Wuwei Qiyue aka Fearless Covenant) in China allows Riot Games and Tencent to begin marketing the game and its competitive ecosystem within the country.
Considering the sheer size of the industry and the viewership that Riot Games pulls from the region for its League of Legends tournaments, this move could prove to give Valorant a huge boost and firmly establish itself as the number one FPS esports title in the world, especially considering CS:GO’s meager presence in the region.
The lifting of restrictions on foreign games marks the end of a crackdown on the gaming industry that began last summer and restricted the growth of the industry. Major gaming companies such as Tencent and NetEase, which rely on both their own games and the publishing of imported games for income, were heavily impacted by the restrictions and were been looking to expand overseas as a result.
In addition to Valorant and Pokemon Unite, the other approved foreign games include CD Projekt Red's Gwent, Plarium's Raid: Shadow Legends, and Klei Entertainment's Don't Starve. The approval of these games, along with 84 domestic games approved this month, suggests that the Chinese government may be easing restrictions on the gaming industry.