Apple removes 39,000 game apps on its China store Thursday, the most effective removal in a single day, as it set year-end as the deadline for all game publishers to get a licence.
The takedowns come between a crackdown on unlicensed games by Chinese authorities.
Including the 39,000 games, Apple eliminated more than 46,000 apps in total from its store. Games affected by the sweep included Ubisoft title Assassin’s Creed Identity and NBA 2K20, according to Qimai.
Qimai also told only 74 of the top 1,500 paid games on Apple store survived the purge.
Apple did not quickly reply to a request for the comment.
Apple initially gave game publishers an end-of-June deadline to present a government-issued licence number allowing users to make in-app purchases in the world’s biggest games market.
Apple following extended the deadline to Dec. 31. China’s Android app stores have long complied with regulations on licences. It is not apparent why Apple is enforcing them more strictly this year.
Analysts stated the move was no surprise as Apple continues to close loopholes to fall in line with China’s content regulators, and would not directly affect Apple’s bottom line as much as prior removals.
Major pivot to only accepting paid games with a game licence, coupled with China’s deficient number of foreign game licences approved this year, will lead more game developers to switch to an ad-supported model Chinese version said Todd Kuhns, marketing manager for App In China. This firm helps overseas companies distribute their apps.