Apple eliminated upward of 2,500 games from its China App Store in the first full week of July, a new report from app analytics firm Sensor Tower notes.
Mobile gaming regulations in the country mean that all games must receive a license from China’s National Press and Publication Administration prior to release. Regulators had promised a crackdown on offending apps since 2016. However, they were slow to act. In the meantime, unlicensed games continued to be published in the App Store.
Sensor Tower notes that, in the first even days of July, more than 2,500 games were removed from the App Store, while almost 660 were added. It observes that:
“The games removed in the first week of July had generated a combined $34.7 million in lifetime gross revenue in China, with one accumulating more than $10 million, and just six that earned over $1 million. The titles had racked up a combined 133.4 million lifetime downloads in China, with one title generating more than 10 million installs, while 30 had picked up over one million.”
Notable games removed included Contract Killer Zombies 2, ASMR Slicing, Nonstop Chuck Norris, and Supercell’s Hay Day.
In most cases, however, the apps removed were low-ranking games. Approximately 80% had been downloaded fewer than 10,000 times in China since January 2012 when Sensor Tower’s records began.
China could be Apple’s future biggest market
This isn’t the first time there has been a mass deletion of apps in the Chinese App Store. In summer 2018, Apple kicked out an enormous 25,000 apps because they broke Chinese laws. Many of these were gambling related, which is illegal in China outside of state-sanctioned lotteries. Apple removed several hundred more apps later in the year. In that instant, it was as a result of breaking Apple’s own rules, rather than China’s.
Tim Cook has frequently talked about China being Apple’s future biggest market. Last year, it represented around 1/5 of the $61 billion in digital goods and services sold in the App Store.