After years of looking the other way when it came to unauthorized games in its China-based App Store, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will begin removing them next month. 

The iPhone maker will remove thousands of mobile games starting in July and will require developers and publishers to get a license from the Chinese government in order to remain in the app store, reports Bloomberg.

Several app icons flying out of a smartphone.


Since 2016, any mobile games users have to pay for or require in-app purchases have been subject to review and licensure by the Chinese government before publishing. Android device stores have followed the rule, but Apple has largely ignored it.

While Apple hasn't enforced that rule, it did remind game developers in China that they would need licenses by the end of June. However, with many developers unsure if the tech stock would now enforce the rule, Apple was forced to make it more official, reports Bloomberg. Apple is now telling developers their games will be banned and removed from the App Store if they don't follow the Chinese government's guidelines.  

In recent weeks, Apple has been acting more amenable to the Chinese government's demands when it comes to content on its platform. Earlier this month, it removed Pocket Casts, the podcast client, from the China App Store after the government's Cyberspace Administration decided it could be used to access content the country considers illegal. The iPhone maker also removed Castro, another podcast app in China. Apple didn't provide either company with specific reasons for why the apps were removed.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.