Children In China To Be Restricted To Three Hours Gameplay A Week
Under 18s in China will be banned from playing video games, except for an hour on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) announced through the state news agency, Xinhua, on Monday that the new rules would limit children to play between 8-9pm on weekend evenings and any holidays. This means they would only have access to games for up to three hours a week.
Is China Going To Make Online Gaming Companies Abide To The Rules?
Online gaming companies are also under instruction to enforce the new rules. Young players will only be allowed to register using their real details. This is to avoid them being able to bypass the restrictions by creating fake accounts and falsifying their age in order to play for longer.
The reason for the tight regulations is to protect "the physical and mental health of minors", according to an unnamed NPPA spokesperson quoted by Xinhua, and "is related to the people's vital interests, and relates to the cultivation of the younger generation in the era of national rejuvenation."
How Many Times Has China Enforced Video Gaming Rules?
However, this isn't the first time China has imposed tighter rules on young players in an attempt to curb video game addictions. In November 2019, under 18s were limited to playing for 90 minutes on weekdays and 3 hours on weekends and holidays - but not between the hours of 10pm and 8am.
Then, in July 2021, Chinese online gaming giant Tencent began using facial recognition between these hours, due to minors using adult accounts to play beyond the allowed times.
The response on Twitter has been mainly negative, with one Twitter user commenting: "Wow this is a major yikes and seems unnecessary right now when they are already nerfing the entertainment industry". Although, another claimed: "As a high school teacher I fully support something like this for kids especially primary school... most of them come into high school without basic reading skills but can tell you their latest gaming score".
League of Legends and Overwatch players, meanwhile, are worried about the impact the new rules will have on esports competitions as well as the effect it will have on young gaming talent. Dexerto reports that one fan commented: "The Chinese talent pool is essentially dead long term underage Chinese players can’t grind the game anymore the CN region will fall behind NA and EU."
Another summed up the issue by saying: "In all seriousness, this is bad. Gaming for some people is an escape from real life. It’s really more than a hobby for a lot of us. Also rip any young talent, this is kinda heartbreaking."