China’s broadcasting regulator on Tuesday approved the release of a third batch of video games after a freeze for most of last year, with industry-leader Tencent Holdings still absent from the list of new titles.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television approved 93 games in its third list since December. It last approved 84 games earlier this month.

Tencent’s domestic rival NetEase was also absent from the list for the third time.

China is home to the world’s largest video game market, where 620 million players spent $37.9 billion (roughly Rs. 2,70,000 crores) last year mostly on mobile and PC games, showed data from gaming market researcher Newzoo.

But authorities stopped approving the release of new titles from March last year amid a regulatory overhaul triggered by growing concern about violent content and game addiction, particularly among young players.

Tencent’s share price subsequently tumbled, wiping billions of dollars from the stock’s market value. The shares are still down as much as 20 percent compared with before the freeze, and were trading more than 1 percent lower on Tuesday.

Tencent, the country’s market leader in terms of gaming revenue, both produces and distributes games. Its fantasy multi-player role-playing battle game, Honour of Kings, is the top-grossing mobile game in China.

In 2017, it announced it would bring South Korea’s PlayerUnknown’s Battleground to China, the world’s best-selling game at the time. However, it has yet to receive a licence that would allow it to monetise the game though it has altered the content to meet China’s strict rules on violence and gore.

© Thomson Reuters 2019

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