Game over? China to curb online gaming in latest industry setback

Beijing tightens government oversight of the country’s booming video game industry

China will limit the number of video games and take steps to limit playing time for minors to tackle rising rates of childhood visual impairment as the government intensifies its crackdown on the world’s largest online gaming market.

A statement posted on the Ministry of Education website late Thursday justified the new restrictions as a way to counter worsening myopia among minors, after President Xi Jinping earlier this week called for more national focus on optical health.

But the move adds to the perception that there is a broader campaign to curb China’s fast-growing video game subculture after authorities have already made clear their concerns about gambling addiction and the violent content of many. shoot-em-up titles.

The Education Ministry statement, also endorsed by seven other ministries, said they will “implement regulations and controls” on the number of games that can be played online, limit new releases, explore a system age limits for games and will take steps to reduce underage gaming time.

No details or time frame were given.

Shares of internet giant Tencent, the Chinese gaming leader, fell more than 5% in Hong Kong while Perfect World Co, a game developer formerly listed on the US stock exchange NASDAQ, fell 9% to shenzhen.

Several other smaller game developers have also dived into the Shenzhen tech exchange.

Official Chinese studies and media reports have warned of rising rates of nearsightedness, or nearsightedness, and in increasingly younger children. Excessive screen time and strict school study routines are often blamed.

A National Vision Report in 2015 indicated that about 500 million Chinese – nearly half of the population over the age of five – suffer from visual impairment, 450 million are nearsighted and rates are rising.

He estimated that visual impairments cost China about $100 billion in 2012.

Repression “monster”

But visual concerns are just the latest reason given for an apparent campaign to curb wildly popular digital games.

The industry was rocked earlier this month when Tencent said it had been ordered to pull hit game ‘Monster Hunter: World’ from sale, just days after its debut.

The government’s online list of new approved titles has not been updated since May. Previously, the list was regularly updated.

Shortly after Tencent’s “Monster Hunt” announcement, Bloomberg News reported that China had effectively halted new approvals.

Citing unnamed sources, he said approvals for online, console and mobile games had been stalled for months.

Chinese media blamed the delay on personnel changes resulting from Xi’s consolidation of power at a Communist Party leadership meeting late last year, which made him the most powerful leader. from Mao Zedong.

But regulators have also been reluctant to approve games involving violence and gambling, Bloomberg said, citing a source, as Xi pushes a “cleansing” campaign to purge media and entertainment of content perceived as disreputable.

China is the world’s largest gaming market, with an estimated revenue of $37.9 billion, according to industry tracker Newzoo, but concerns over objectionable content and addiction have fueled scrutiny more and more careful.

Last year, Tencent began restricting daily play times for minors on its mobile multiplayer fighting game “King of Glory”.

Official warnings of the dangers and calls for stricter regulation appeared to gather pace after Chinese media reported in February that a 15-year-old boy addicted to gambling in central China had bludgeoned and strangled a woman to death.

The official Xinhua news agency said the boy told police he wanted to know if killing was “as easy and fun” as in video games.

‘Monster Hunter’ on hold as China pauses on new video games

© 2018AFP

Quote: Game over? China to rein in online gaming in latest industry setback (2018, Aug 31) Retrieved May 3, 2022 from games.html

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