China sets video game curfew for children and teens

China brings war on gaming addiction to mobile

Under new regulation, China has announced it is implementing a gaming curfew for all minors in the country.

As reported by The New York Times, the Chinese government claims that video games are responsible for a "rise in nearsightedness" and "poor academic performance". In accordance to the Times, these rules are an "endeavor to rein in China's on the net gaming field... which generates extra than $33 billion in annual profits". Although Chinese authorities resumed issuing gaming licenses in December after a monthslong government policy overhaul, Cui said that Tencent has received approvals for as few as "half or one-third" of what it used to due to Chinese censors imposing stricter oversight on content. The regulator said it was "making adjustments" at the time.

China is the second largest gaming country in the world.

However, Sinolink also mentioned that minors in China account for only about 20% of the industry's revenue, so this might not hurt developers as much.

According to a report past year, there are more than 800 million netizens in China and over 98 percent are smartphone users. BBC's report says nothing about offline games for PCs and mobile.

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Moreover, the regulations seem to target games with microtransactions. They also limit play time to 90 minutes per day during the week and three hours per day at weekends and holidays. Gamers between 16 and 18 years old will be able to top up a maximum of RMB 400 (US$57).

The new rules require players to register online with their real identities, although additional details, including enforcement, are unclear.

Analysing the changes, Sinolink Securities wrote that "China will likely further tighten regulations on the gaming industry".

The "Notice on Preventing Minors from Indulging in Online Games" guidelines steps in the shadow of some of China's existing practice to contain online gaming, such as the creation of the Online Ethics Committee and the push of the Culture and Tourism Ministry to create "clean and green online games for young people".

"The establishment and implementation of the regulations will have a strong significance and an effective impact on strengthening and improving online gaming management, protecting the mental and physical health of minors, and building a clean and pure cyberspace", an unnamed SAPP spokesperson told Xinhua.

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