The Chinese government announced an online gaming curfew of minors this week to help curb video game addiction in the country. The move is expected to hurt internet giant Tencent the hardest.
Concerns related to gaming addiction
The Chinese government has released new guidelines for all online gaming platforms in the country, which will disallow anyone under the age of 18 years from playing video games between 10 pm and 8 am. The General Administration of Press and Publication published the new guidelines which insist that minors can only play for a total of 90 minutes during weekdays. However, on public holidays and weekends, they will be allowed to play for up to 3 hours per day.
The government will also restrict how much money it allows minors to transfer to their gaming accounts. Under the new guidelines, games aged 16 to 18 years will be allowed to transfer 400 Yuan to their online gaming accounts. Children between the ages of 8 and 16 can transfer only 200 Yuan to their accounts every month.
Flourishing Chinese gaming industry
China is the largest gaming market in the world, with total gaming revenue valued at $38 billion last year. It accounts for 25% of the global gaming revenue. A spokesman for the Administration said that the guidelines would help protect the mental and physical health of minors and clear the internet. He added, “(This notice) has emphasized the responsibility of the corporations, and has executed the government’s duty to supervise the problem.” All units of Chinese government will study the rules and ensure that corporates comply with them.
The Administration is working on new solutions to rampant gaming addiction by setting up a new real-name registration system alongside law enforcement services. With the new system in place, gaming companies can check the identity of users more effectively and use protection measures whenever necessary. Chinese internet giant Tencent will face the biggest share of this curb as it hosts an enormous gaming network on its platform.
Beijing has a history of using curbs in the gaming industry. In 2017, it called out Honor of Kings, a popular mobile game, for causing gaming addiction. In 2018, it suggested limiting the number of online games to reduce nearsightedness issues in minors. Last year, the World Health Organization added Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) to its International Classification of Diseases. It associates this disease with compulsive gamers who ignore or harm their social and private lives because of gaming.