China Restricts Children to Three Hours of Gaming Per week


China introduced a new rule for the country’s young gamers. Anyone under the age of 18 will no longer be allowed to play games except on Fridays, weekends, and public holidays. The country is also limiting the game time between 8 PM and 9 PM on the days children are allowed to play games. The government announced that all online video games will be required to connect to an “anti-addiction system” that will be managed by the National Press and Publication Administration in the country. The regulation will go into effect from 1st Sept, 2021.

China imposes stricter gaming rule for minors

According to Wall Street Journal, all players will be required to register with the National Press and Publication Administration’s anti-addiction system with government-issued identification documents in order to access online games. Tencent Holdings Limited, which is the largest video game company in the world in terms of revenue, already has measures in place to automatically boot players after a certain period of time and makes use of facial recognition to ensure registered players are using the right government credentials.

Chinese State-run news agency Xinhua revealed that the government seeks to “effectively protect the physical and mental health of minors.” China’s online games industry is one of the largest in the world and the new rules will definitely affect it to some extent.

Daniel Ahmad, who is a senior analyst at Niko Partners said, “This ruling is certainly extremely harsh and will essentially wipe out most spending from minors.” Under previous rules, children below the age of 18 were allowed to play 1.5 hours per day on most days but the new ruling sharply cuts down on the amount of time that can be spent online.

Ahmad told CNBC, “There are over 110 million minors that play video games in China today, and we expect the new limits to lead to a decline in the number of players and a reduction in the amount of time and money spent in game by those under 18.

However, with restrictions already in place for minors in the past two years, Ahmad does not expect to see a significant material decline. He expects a softer impact on the overall growth rates of companies as in-game spending by minors are already low to begin with.