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China Cracks Down on Online Gaming for Minors

  • Minors will not be able to play between 10pm and 8am.
  • Only 90 minutes of game time allotted during the week.
  • Three hours a day on weekends and holidays.

The gaming world is quite literally that. We’re a global community spread across the earth in nearly every single country in either a large or small capacity. The age of the internet brought us all closer in our love for adventure, our competitive nature, and our innate desire to interact with others. Gaming has been a great unifier of its time, making it one of the most indulged-upon hobbies to exist in modern day. It’s something we all enjoy, but for some nations, government powers are cracking down on the hobby. The latest to do so is China, introducing new measures to combat “game addiction” in minors, and it’s incredibly strict. 

State-run media in the nation has claimed it to be an effort to improve the lives of not just affected minors, but their families as well. If the fact that a nation is cracking down on a hobby isn’t disturbing enough, these are some of the things the new measures actually entail. For starters, during a typical week, gamers under 18 are only allotted 90 minutes online per evening, and during the hours of 10 pm and 8 am they will not be able to play online regardless of whether or not they’ve hit their daily limits. Players will have to register using their real identities, completely pushing anonymity out the door, and to top it all off, minor players will only be able to spend certain amounts per month, depending on their age, for online games. For the 16-18-year-old bracket, that is 400 yuan or $57 a month.

If that wasn’t bad enough, game companies are being brought to task to overwatch their player bases even more than China already requires of them to make sure their players are abiding by these new guidelines. Failure to heed the new regulations will result in license termination, thereby losing their business rights within China. This means we can expect companies like Activision-Blizzard to either double down on their business efforts in the region or accept the financial losses. China is also actively looking into a new rating system, as well as providing training to legal guardians struggling with children adapting to these new rules.

You know, as a kid I wasn’t allowed to play games after 10 pm either; I had school the next day. But that was something enforced by my parents, not an outside party that felt they knew best. It’s just such a strange thing to hear, and sad knowing that’s just something they’re going to have to deal with now. I know what you’re thinking though, how does it affect you? 

Directly, unless you live in China and are under 18, it doesn’t. It’s just another story about another of active vilification of our hobby. When people push back against the World Health Organization about their stance on video games, the actions taken in China can serve as a prominent example of why trying to claim a form of game addiction or dependency isn’t a good idea for the hobby that’s for sure.