Gaming curfew for minors hits China

Andrew Cummings
November 7, 2019

Want add-ons like virtual weapons and costumes? They will also be restricted to 90 minutes of gaming on weekdays and three hours on weekends and holidays.

A hashtag about the new rules was one of the most discussed on China's social media platform Weibo on Thursday with 210 million views. Not only have they frozen video game release approval and reportedly banned games like Fortnite in the past, but in the midst of political turmoil gaming companies like Blizzard have made extremely unfortunate decisions centered around the seeming preservation of business in the region.

Media title How does the game affect your brain?

Xi spoke publicly past year about the scourge of poor eyesight among children, putting more pressure on officials to act.

Official government guidelines issued on Tuesday include spending restrictions for minors.

In addition to time limitations, the guidelines dictate that there will also be a limitation on how much money players can transfer into online gaming marketplaces. Those purchases are now capped at $28 to $57 a month, depending on age.

The guidelines will be applied to all online gaming providers, including Tencent, the biggest gaming company in the world.

The new regulations aren't implemented yet, and only time will tell if they work as planned or if young gamers utilize loopholes.

"There are always going to be loopholes", said Daniel Ahmad, a senior analyst at Niko Partners, a research and consulting firm.

China has announced a curfew on online gaming for minors among new measures aimed at curbing video game addiction.

"I think compared to the West, it's very extreme", he said.

In a sign of the growing global importance of the Chinese gaming market, Activision Blizzard, a US company, recently suspended an e-sports player who had voiced support for antigovernment demonstrations in Hong Kong during a live broadcast, a move that was seen as a concession to Beijing.

The rules were greeted skeptically by some parents and gamers.

The new rules that were rolled out are similar to the regulations that had already been placed on video games on personal computers and consoles. Gamers from ages eight to 16 will only be allowed up to 200 yuan, or $29, per month.

Regulators have had softer time limits in place since 2007, restricting kids to three hours of daily play, though that restriction didn't necessarily keep you from playing the game entirely - some game operators were able to simply reduce rewards for playing after the time limits were exceeded.

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