'Monster Hunter' is removed from sale in China

Kelley Robertson
August 18, 2018

Revenue rose 30 percent to 73.7 billion yuan, but that's its slowest expansion in since 2015 and fell short of estimates for 77.7 billion yuan.

"We don't have visibility on when exactly the official approval will start yet", said Tencent President Martin Lau on a conference call with investors, according to Bloomberg (paywall).

League numbers are down from their peak, but it's still one of the most-played games in the world and we're very happy with the numbers, and we think some of the new content we're putting out soon can only help with player numbers.

Tencent reported its first profit decline in almost 13 years Wednesday.

Additionally, after China's content regulator went through reforms, many firms are still waiting to be granted licenses for new games which have been on hold since March.

Reporting a 2 percent decline in second-quarter net profit as well as its slowest revenue growth in three years, Tencent said the biggest hurdle to a return to rapid revenue growth was that it could not yet charge for its PlayerUnknowns' Battlegrounds (PUBG) video game in China. "We do believe it's not a matter of whether these games will be approved for monetization, but a matter of when".

Meanwhile, the freeze has sent shockwaves throughout the industry, as Tencent distribute games in China for some of the world's biggest publishers, including Activision Blizzard and EA.

"For new game approvals, there will continue to be a drag", Citigroup Global Markets' head of pan-Asia internet research Alicia Yap reveals, confirming that approval process will continue to stagnate in the near future.

Concerns about the competition and the increased regulatory oversight have weighed on the company's share price for months.

Lau said the company was working diligently to get the approvals.

Capcom, a Japanese company, also saw its shares fall by 10 percent, before rising by 2.1 percent the day after.

An emblem of China's growing innovative prowess, Tencent, which owns the messaging and payments app WeChat, has nonetheless been a beneficiary of Beijing's policies.

Back in 2009, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King was also banned for the portrayal of skeletons, but after making a few changes the game was back on the platform. A closely watched Communist Party newspaper publicly chastised Tencent a year ago over the game, claiming it caused addiction in young people. Alibaba Group affiliate Ant Financial was initially cheered for providing everyday people and small businesses with easier access to loans and other financial products.

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