China further restricts minors' gaming time to one hour a day for three days a week
After cracking down on cryptocurrency mining operations located within its borders, the Chinese Government's ire is now directed towards gamers in China. Not too long ago, Tencent cut down the number of hours minors could play its flagship Honor of Kings title. That could have been a test run for things to come because the latest regulations cut down on Chinese minors' playtime to three hours per week.
China's state-run Xinhua news agency has laid down new guidelines to be followed by all game publishers in China. For starters, minors can only play online games between 8 PM and 9 PM on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and certain holidays. Second, publishers have to ensure that their games ship with a robust anti-addiction mechanism in place that forbids minors from playing outside of the designated hours. Third, all publishers have to work in tandem with the state, teachers, and parents to ensure that children are educated about the ill effects of online gaming. Lastly, no user will be allowed to sign up for a service without providing their real name.
Most of the rules mentioned above, including the real name requirements and anti-addiction measures, have existed for quite some time. It'll be interesting to see if these measures meaningfully affect the likes of Tencent and NetEase. Then again, adults tend to spend a lot more time and money on online games, so minors playing for fewer hours shouldn't make any meaningful impact on the revenue stream. Besides, these regulations only apply to online games, and it isn't immediately clear they will also apply to offline, single-player games. Furthermore, one can also use a VPN to bypass the restrictions altogether, but it is has been quite challenging to get a working VPN service in China of late.