Chinese regulators reportedly have shut down the last official path for companies to bring new games into the country.
The government this month stopped granting licenses through the "green channel," which it used to test games and see how players reacted prior to the official approval process, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing anonymous sources.
Companies like Tencent, which was trying to bringto China, used this method to buoy profits in the $38 billion market for a brief window during a licensing freeze on new games, which .
The freeze also created a gray market where Chinese game companies have been selling their publishing licenses for up to 500,000 yuan ($72,000), Bloomberg noted, and gamers have been able to play unlicensed titles via Steam. Those games are available on servers outside China.
The Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism couldn't be reached, and Tencent didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Also in August, China's education ministry announced a plan to regulate new games and online timein children.