China’s new policy limits gaming hours for under-18 gamers

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Beijing’s new rule regarding online gaming limits the time of gamers under 18 years of age between 8 pm and 9 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and statutory holidays. This is among the country’s most calculated steps towards limiting the gaming addiction of young people.

The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) issued these rules to tackle gaming addiction among teenagers. This came forward as a report by Xinhua, the state media outlet of China. 

Earlier, 2019’s rules limited the gaming time to no more than 90 minutes each day and 3 hours on statutory holidays. The new rule can reportedly erode China’s player base, thereby directly impacting Chinese gaming companies like Tencent Holdings and NetEase.

Furthermore, the notice also puts forth the abidance to these rules by enabling a real-name registration and login system for gamers. Thus, doing away with people who wish to access games without registration.

However, Tencent’s gaming unit has come forth in support of these new rules and assured that it will implement the new requirements at the earliest. 

“Many parents have said that the gaming addiction problem among teens and children has gravely affected their ability to learn and study as well as their physical and mental health, even causing a series of societal problems,” said an NPPA spokesperson in talks with Xinhua.

NPPA says that gaming companies are responsible for stopping children from becoming addicted to games. Furthermore, Beijing’s increased security regarding the industry is already affecting the stock prices at large. 

Last month, a state media article mentioned video games as “spiritual opium” after which the valuation of Tencent, the world’s largest video gaming company, lost US$43 billion in a matter of hours. This added to Tencent’s loss of more than US$400 billion since February.

Tencent and Bilibili in the quarterly reports mentioned that they implemented anti-addiction measures, thereby limiting the userbase of minors to a minimum amount. Players under 16 constitute only 2.6% of the gross gaming receipts in China while under 13 players hold only 0.3% value in the userbase. Bilibili also said that minors constituted only 1% of the company’s gaming revenue.