The gaming industry – and probably children – are not happy with the crackdown.
The Chinese government has announced tough new limits on the number of minors under the age of 18 who can play video games online, forcing some of the biggest game platform developers to limit availability to just three hours per week, Bloomberg reports.
The Chinese government is touting the move as a way to address a growing addiction problem – but critics say it is far reaching and a blow to the country’s burgeoning gaming industry.
The rules, released by the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) on Monday, require developers – including global tech giant Tencent – to limit underage hours of online play between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Fridays, as well as weekends and holidays.
This is after China limited under-18 games to just an hour and a half a day in 2019.
It is not clear whether the new rules imposed on online games will also have an effect on the accessibility of offline single player games for those under the age of 18.
It’s likely a difficult pill for many children in China to swallow, who the announcement says are currently spending far more than three hours a week playing.
But for the NPPA, it is a way to look after their best interests. Last month, an article published by state media went so far as to label gambling addiction “spiritual opium,” a reference which was later removed, according to The edge.
“The protection of the physical and mental health of minors is linked to the vital interests of the population and the culture of the young generation in the era of national rejuvenation,” a spokesperson for the NPPA said in a statement. through Reuters.
A real name verification system will also be put in place to ensure that access is restricted to minors. All online games must also be linked to a state-run anti-addiction system. Parents and teachers are also urged to help fight gambling addiction.
Unsurprisingly, the crackdown caused the value of Chinese gambling stocks to plummet, according to Reuters.
“This decision is the strictest to date and will essentially eliminate most of the spending by miners, which we note was already extremely low,” analyst Daniel Ahmad said. Bloomberg.
READ MORE: China cuts children’s play time to just three hours a week [Bloomberg]
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