China strongly opposes teenagers playing online games | Easy Online Work

According to the new rules, gamers under the age of 18 will be prohibited from playing online games for a week.

China is imposing stricter restrictions on online gaming for people under the age of 18. A report from the National Press and Publishing Office says that from September 1, minors are only allowed to play online games for one hour a day, from 8-9 pm, only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

According to the rules, users must also register under their real names, and companies that develop online games are prohibited from providing any services to unregistered users, even “travel mode”. All online games must be monitored through a real name verification system developed by the National Press and Publication Office, and the “frequency and intensity” of checks will be increased to ensure compliance with the rules.

These rules are the strictest in the world. According to Xinhua, the new rules are intended to combat gambling addiction among young people, “who are at the stage of physical and psychological development and have weak self-control.”

The new restrictions significantly tightened the rules introduced in 2019, according to which the duration of online games for minors was 90 minutes a day for a week and three hours a day on weekends and holidays, and a curfew was introduced from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. the next day. These rules also required real name verification for online gaming accounts, but compliance with these rules might not always be accurate: the latest rules contain a specific warning that online gaming companies that do not “strictly adhere to” the rules will “serious measures” have been taken.

One company that appears to be ahead of the curve is Tencent, China’s largest telecommunications company, which announced back in July that it is using facial recognition technology to make sure minors don’t play online games after 10pm. Anyone trying to play for limited hours must use a phone camera to verify their identity and age, which is much stricter than most other age restrictions.

Most recently, Tencent announced its own tightening of restrictions on games for minors, although it did not go as far as new government regulations. In August, the company cut its allowed play time from 90 minutes a day to 60 during the week and from three hours to two on weekends and holidays. In addition, the company has stepped up facial recognition verification to a “full-day verification” feature, requiring all suspicious accounts to re-authenticate to prevent minors who have bypassed the system, and has completely banned online gaming for those under 12.

Tencent’s strong involvement may have helped keep the government in good stead, but materially it hasn’t benefited much: The Chinese government’s increasingly aggressive regulation of online gaming has caused Tencent’s share price to fall from a high of HK $ 766. ($ 98) to HK $ 466 ($ 60) today. However, Tencent is probably keen to do everything it can to avoid an even tighter restriction on gaming. In 2018, Tencent reportedly lost $ 190 billion in market value after the Chinese government stopped issuing gaming licenses in March of that year.

The new rules only apply to online games: An official told Xinhua that it is up to parents to decide how long their children will play “other games that promote the development of minors.” This difference probably reflects both the nature of the Chinese market, where online free-to-play and esports games are hugely popular, and the simple fact that it is much more difficult to control games when an internet connection is not required.

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