Apple removes several unlicensed games from the App Store in China

Looks like the App Store looked a little different in China today. Conformable Reuters, Apple has removed about 39,000 games owned by developers and publishers that do not have an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) from the Chinese government. Research by Qimai, a Chinese firm, shows that many Western titles have been included in the purge, including The identity of Assassin’s Creed and NBA 2K20. According to Reuters, that leaves only 74 of the first 1,500 paid games. Some of the free apps that remain include Call of Duty: Mobile, Honor of the Kings and Game for peace, the Chinese version of PUBG Mobile.

The moves are not a huge surprise. Apple launched a similar crackdown earlier this summer, removing 30,000 apps – most of which were games, according to Bloomberg – which have not been approved by the National Administration of Press and Publications (NPPA). It’s almost impossible to get an ISBN without an internal publisher, which is why so many Western studios partner with another company before launching their games in China.