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China orders Tencent to kill game just days after its debut

A pedestrian walks past Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s new under construction headquarters in Shenzhen, China. Photographer:Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

HONG KONGTencent Holdings Ltd took another hit to its gaming business, after regulators told the social media giant to remove “Monster Hunter: World” from its personal computer downloads service just days after the action title’s debut.

Parts of the Capcom Co hit failed to meet regulatory standards and the relevant authorities received a “significant amount of complaints”, which in turn spurred the government to revoke an operating licence, Tencent said in a statement without elaborating. Tencent shares fell 2.4% yesterday, while Capcom’s stock slumped almost 10%.

It’s the latest blow to Tencent’s gaming operation, which has faced a series of hiccups. The company hasn’t won the necessary approval to begin generating money from its marquee mobile game, “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds”, and has yet to receive the green light for introducing the desktop version to China. That’s hobbled revenue growth at the Internet giant and contributed to a 15% slide in its stock since June.

While Tencent’s run into issues with the industry’s overseers in the past — notably when state media rounded on its inhouse-developed “Honour of Kings” for allegedly encouraging addiction — it’s unusual for the giant Internet firm to encounter multiple obstacles at once.

The Radii blog first reported on the game’s suspension. Japanese studio Capcom’s title has sold more than eight million copies globally. The series, where players hunt the titular beasts, has been popular in Japan for over a decade. — Bloomberg