Moonton’s Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) received game approval from China’s National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) on Wednesday, alongside 85 other games. The game was published in 2016 and finally got approval by Chinese authorities after seven years. In addition, all approved games from NPPA’s April list were mobile games and appear to be domestic releases from native developers and publishers.
It should be noted that MLBB was published by East China Normal University Electronic Audiovisual Press Co., Ltd, the same publishing company which also published Riot Games’ Valorant in December, according to NPPA. In China, game publishers can not “publish” games by themselves, and often need a third-party publishing company to “apply” for game approval from NPPA. The game developer Moonton is still operating the company of MLBB, but it is owned by TikTok owner ByteDance.
MLBB is considered one of the most popular esports titles in the Southeast Asia region. In January, Moonton’s Mobile Legends: Bang Bang 4 (M4) World Championship in Jakarta reportedly reached 4.2M peak concurrent users (PCU). The viewership numbers were collected by Esports Charts, but excluded data from Mainland China.
MLBB has long been recognized as Honor of Kings’ rival in the international market, and receiving game approval is the first step for Moonton in the China esports market.