China’s publication regulator granted licences to 67 video games on Tuesday in its third and biggest approval of new titles for smartphones, personal computers and consoles in mainland China since the end of an eight-month hiatus. Tencent Holdings and NetEase , the two technology giants that dominate China’s US$49 billion video gaming market, were once again excluded from the list, continuing a year-long drought, according to the list released on Tuesday by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), China’s top watchdog for video games and other online media. Tencent’s shares have slumped 26.8 per cent in Hong Kong since the end of last July, when the last list was released before a licensing freeze that only ended in April. NetEase’s shares have fallen 10.7 per cent in the same period. Genshin Impact developer miHoYo wins rare video game licence in China The big winners were TikTok owner ByteDance and video streaming giant Bilibili , the first two Big Tech companies in China to be granted game approvals since the resumption of licenses. The list is a slight uptick in approvals from last month, when the agency approved 60 new titles for sale in China, marking a slow recovery for China’s game developers. In April, the list included just 45 titles. The freeze on new licenses last year accompanied by new gaming restrictions on minors resulted in an upheaval in the gaming market. Thousands of small developers shuttered and tech giants have seen revenue growth fall. ByteDance, which once sought to take on Tencent in gaming, has since been forced to scale back its ambitions. The social media giant has disbanded Shanghai-based 101 Studio , which it acquired just three years ago, cutting about half of its 300 staffers, Bloomberg reported last month. However, the new list offers some good news for the company on the gaming front. ByteDance, which runs its gaming business under the in-house brand Nuverse, won a licence for the mobile title Crystal of Atlan . The game’s operator Shenzhen Linzi was fully acquired by a ByteDance-related entity in April last year, according to business registry tracking firm Qichacha. Labelled as an action role-playing game, Crystal of Atlan once had the most reservations of any title on the Chinese game store TapTap. Bilibili, known for its video streaming and gaming platforms, secured a licence to publish Forged In Shadow Torch , a role-playing game developed by game studio TiGames, on PC and PlayStation 5. The company had already published the game overseas through Valve’s popular video game store Steam, contributing to anticipation for the title in China. Also approved this month are Infinity Kingdom by Yoozoo Games, Eternal Return: Infinite by Hong Kong-listed iDreamSky, and Biphase by Seasun, the gaming subsidiary of software developer Kingsoft. The list also included two new titles from ZQ Games, a Shenzhen-listed game developer known for its metaverse concept game Brew Master , which sent the company’s stocking roaring nearly 400 per cent in late 2021. ZQ is one of five developers to have more than one title approved in a single month since the resumption of game licences. China’s Tencent, miHoYo stay on lofty perch with world’s most lucrative mobile games The new list resumes the one-month release cadence that had been normal before the licensing freeze. The gap between the lists issued in late April and early June briefly led to speculation that Beijing may slow the pace of game approvals to every two months. Still, the number of new approvals remains much lower than in past years. After the country’s first eight-month licensing freeze in 2018, new approvals fell 85 per cent to 1,365 in 2019. In the first seven months of 2021, before the second suspension, Beijing approved just 679 titles. Against this backdrop, gross sales revenue for China’s gaming industry rose just 6.4 per cent last year, down from 20.7 per cent growth in 2020.