“Effeminate” or “unmanly” content and the “glorification of money” are prohibited in Chinese video games. The Chinese government emphasized this in a meeting with representatives of the domestic game industry on Wednesday evening, in which, among others, the major corporations NetEase and Tencent took part.
At the meeting, the Chinese leadership ordered the companies to intensify the examination of the content of their video games, reports the state news agency Xinhua: “Content that is obscene, violent, or leads to unhealthy tendencies such as glorifying money or effeminacy should be removed,” writes Xinhua.
“Softening” means primarily androgynous aesthetics, Professor Geng Song of Hong Kong University told the AFP news agency. Beijing feared that “feminine men are physically weak and emotionally unstable” and cannot defend their country properly.
Online gaming restriction
At the meeting, game companies were also reminded of the new restrictions on young people’s online gaming. At the end of August, the Chinese National Press and Publication Administration NPPA limited the time children and young people were allowed to play online games to three hours a week. Previously, 90 minutes per weekday was allowed.
People under the age of 18 are now only allowed to play for one hour in the evening on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. At the meeting with representatives of the games industry, the Chinese government now called for consistent implementation. The video game providers are responsible for implementing these time limits; children and young people should only be able to register for online games with their real names and an official identification number. With the regulations, the Chinese government says it wants to take action against online and game addiction among young people.
“Opium for the Spirit”
An article by the state news agency had previously described video games as “opium for the mind” and “electronic drugs”. Gambling addiction is a growing problem and it prevents children from learning and promotes alienation.
The Chinese game market is the largest in the world – ahead of the USA and Japan. Chinese game companies are also active in the West: Tencent, the world’s largest game company, holds 100 percent of Riot Games, the studio behind “League of Legends” and “Valorant”. Tencent also owns Funcom (“Conan Exiles”), Grinding Gear Games (“Path of Exile”), Klei Entertainment (“Don’t Starve”) and 80 percent Supercell (“Clash Royale”). Tencent also holds shares in Blizzard Entertainment, Ubisoft and Epic Games.
The extensive interventions that are necessary for the publication of games on the Chinese market are illustrated, for example, by the title “Game for Peace”. This is a port of the shooter PUBG Mobile, which was adapted according to the wishes of Chinese regulators. Blood has been completely removed from the game, the animation of the dying characters has been replaced by a patriotic salute.
According to the Zeitung South China Morning Post The government in Beijing is also said to have decided to completely block the approval of new online games until further notice. Most recently, China decided in 2018 not to allow online titles for nine months.