Tencent updates Games Speed ​​Booster app to block access to third-party unapproved apps

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Tencent Holdings said it will shut down a service that allowed Chinese gamers to access foreign platforms to play unauthorized foreign games in a sign of tightening compliance as Chinese regulators scrutinize the industry.

The country’s largest social and gaming company announced late Wednesday that on May 31 it will update its game speed booster mobile and desktop apps to new versions that only support games operated in China will. The new versions will no longer allow users to access foreign games.

Tencent first launched the apps in 2018. Such apps, which are also offered by other companies like NetEase, act as network acceleration tools that help users boost their Internet speeds.

Unlike most countries, players in China are only allowed to play government-sanctioned titles and are not allowed to play with foreigners on foreign servers. While such foreign games are not specifically blocked by online curbs, local internet speeds are generally too slow for players to access.

Therefore, in practice, many gamers in China use such apps to access unauthorized foreign games such as Grand Theft Auto or Nintendo’s hit Animal Crossing. The apps have also become gray area channels for foreign game developers over the years to reach users in the world’s largest gaming market.

Tencent declined to comment further on why it decided to make changes to the app.

The move was greeted with dismay by Chinese players, but many also said it was not surprising.

“This is to be expected given the direction things are going. It’s getting harder every day to be a player in China,” a Chinese netizen wrote on the microblogging site Weibo.

The move comes days after China lifted a nine-month freeze on gaming licenses. During this time, gaming companies, including Tencent, made major adjustments to their business practices to comply with regulatory requirements.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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