China puts limits on online video games: maximum of 3 hours a week for minors

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The Chinese Government announced on Monday a new restriction for online video games. From now on, minors from the Asian giant will be able to play online for a maximum of three hours a week. The new measure, which takes effect on September 1, also restricts playing time to Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

The information, confirmed by the regulatory agency National Press and Publications Administration (NAAP), shows a new cut in leisure time allowed for minors in China; much more severe than the norm set in 2019, which set the limit at an hour and a half a day.

Stephen McDonnell, BBC China correspondent, explains that the measure will force players to use their real name through prior registration and a facial scan. The authorities will carry out periodic inspections of the companies to check that the three-hour-a-week rule is being met.

Control, authority and possible effects in the video game sector in China

After years of skepticism, the government of Xi Jinping apply this restriction to combat addiction to online video games among young adolescents; so much so that a half of the Asian country, Xinhua, recently described electronic entertainment as the “spiritual opium“; although the publishing house itself later qualified its words, alluding that it was an opinion article. None of this prevented the shares of major companies such as Tencent and NetEase suffer a severe drop in the value of their shares. The reality is that it was nothing but the reflection of an opinion shared by the Government.

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Both Tencent and NetEase are now looking to grow and consolidate their position on an international scale – company purchases, shareholdings, new development teams with tax headquarters outside of China … – to avoid the impact of these impositions. China, for its part, tightens its authority and control over society.

Sources | SCMP; Stephen McDonnel; Reuters


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