According to a Chinese media watchdog, the National Press and Publication Administration, (NPPA), minors will now be limited in play time from 8-9 pm Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays. The statement was made public Monday by state news agency Xinhua.
This move is a significant tightening in the limits that were previously set by the agency for 2019, which was already restrictivePlayOn weekdays, you can expect to be done in 90 minutes and on weekends for three hoursFor children. The restrictions were put in place by authorities to prevent youngsters from becoming addicted to video gaming.
The NPPAThis week, it was noted that rules had been issued at the start of the school semester. They included specific guidelines for protecting minors’ healthy growth and preventing addiction to online gaming.
Investors reacted quickly. On Monday, NetEase (NTES), dropped 3.4% in New York during normal trading hours. TCEHY (Tencent) experienced a similar drop in Hong Kong Tuesday, before rebounding to 1.6%.
An escalating crackdown
In recent months, China has embarked on a major clampdown on private enterprise, which has engulfed some of the country’s top players. Initially, it appeared that regulators’ main target was the booming tech sector, but lately that has expanded to reach other industries, such as private education.
Citi analyst Alicia Yap said she expects the effect of recent curbs on gaming companies’ to be minimal, with less than a single digit hit to China revenue, for NetEase and Tencent.
In a Tuesday note, she stated that “this will still be a setback for the industry and possibly send another wave of negativity to the market as well as lower investors’ expectations for future growth in the gaming industry.”
A spokesperson from the NPPA spoke at a Monday news conferenceThe stricter curbs had been implemented in response to parents’ complaints.
“Many parents said that teenagers’ addiction to online games seriously affected their studies, and physical and mental health, leading to a series of social problems, making many parents suffer,” said the unidentified representative, according to a report by Xinhua.
In recent years, the Chinese government implemented a registration system which required people who played computer games to do so under their real names, allowing companies to check up on them.
It reiterated this policy last week. The NPPA stated that online game companies shall not offer game services to anyone who has not registered and logged into with their real identities.
Tencent released a statement Tuesday stating that it has been developing “various new technology and functions to protect minors” from 2017.
The company stated that Tencent will not change its policies as it adheres to and implements all Chinese government requirements.
Tencent previously stated that it does not make a lot of money from children playing its games. In its most recent earnings presentation, it said that players under the age of 16 accounted for only 2.6% of its gross gaming receipts in China.
Martin Lau, president of the company, stated that there were many new regulations coming but that he was confident that he could be compliant.
The Chinese tech giant had already made headlines earlier this month for announcing limits on the amount of time minors could spend playing the company’s online games, such as the popular title “Honor of Kings.”
These rules stipulate that minors can only play for two hours during holidays and one hour each day on the other days.
This statement was made after Xinhua’s newspaper published a detailed analysis that described the negative effects of video gaming on children.
NetEase didn’t immediately reply to my request for comment.
Many users on Chinese social media complained about the new rules.
“This policy presumes that gaming is bad,” wrote one user on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.
Some also pointed out the drawbacks of imposing a blanket ban, suggesting that there should be rules that apply for “different kinds of games and minors of different ages.”
Are the ages 7 and 17 equal? asked another Weibo user.
Some worried that the government would lose out in competitive gaming.
China doesn’t have the future of e-sports. It’s impossible for teens to train,” wrote a third Weibo user. The world’s youngest champion will be a 17-year-old from another country, and we begin to play at 18.
Publiated at Tue 31 August 2021, 08:45:05 +0000