China Limits Video Games For Minors

By Ben Hamill - September 05 2021

China Limits Video Games For Minors

China is no stranger when it comes to imposing controversial laws, now more than ever. In a new announcement the Chinese government has further limited how much time minors may spend playing online video games, reducing the timeframe to just 1 hour on weekends. This means, as it currently stands, that those under the age of 18 may only play 1 hour, from 8-9pm, on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays.

Questions were immediately raised as to how such a broad law will be enforced, though it seems as if the government has this figured out as well. Those who play online must register before accessing any games, and any company offering illegal services are to be met with harsh punishment. Additionally, any online gaming service offered must first pass an inspection via the National Press and Publication Administration.

It should be noted that these rules only apply to entertainment software is played online. Strangely enough, single player games are not nearly as closely regulated.

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Combating Addiction

As harsh as the rules seem, the country is known to suffer astronomical levels of online video game addiction. Authorities have stated that the youth of the country are still in a delicate developmental stage, and as such demonstrate incredibly poor self-control.

With that being said, previously established restrictions, which came about in 2019, were already seen as draconian. This previous round of laws saw minors limited to 90 minutes of play during weekdays, and 3 hours on weekends. Though, according to a government spokesperson, the implementation of the restrictions had been poor at best, resulting in this latest round of harsher rules.

Ahead Of The Curve

As the country’s youngsters despair, Tencent, the largest tech organisation in the region, has declared that it is ahead of the curve. The corporation has announced that it will be using facial recognition technology to help stick to established rules, thereby making it extremely difficult for rule-breaking minors to play offending games.

The move seems to be an attempt by the corporation to appease authorities, but certainly hasn’t done much for the company’s bottom line. Although Tencent once boasted a share price of $98, that value has since plummeted to a far less impressive $60.

Where it goes from here remains to be seen, but these increasingly harshly enforced restrictions are certainly not going to go down well. Even still, Chinese eSports is still extremely popular, and only continuing to grow.