China Gaming Addiction Battle, The Story Continues!
Lately, a lot is going on in the Chinese gaming industry between the government and the stakeholders. A top-down reset is being done to the gaming industry by the government for “common prosperity”.
Chinese authorities have applied stringent rules over several gaming domains like game approvals, online gaming restrictions, gaming characters outlook, and more. These restrictions and rules are backed by several ideas mainly the harsh rhetoric of equating games addiction similar to opium.
The rhetoric resulted in the government imposing strict restrictions against young gamers in early August. The future looks bleak for gamers younger than 18 years of age.
China Gaming Addiction
The restriction and harsh rhetoric also resulted in shares taking nose dive of the biggest gaming company in China. As of now, young gamers can only play online games on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays along with public holidays. In addition to online gaming days, the number of hours is also limited to one hour; from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. only.
This rule is now supported by an anti-addiction registry.
Many parents have supported the rule, one such parent said, “I think this is the right policy,” one parent told a New York Times reporter. “It amounts to the state taking care of our kids for us.”
However, young gamers aren’t happy with the developments and are finding loopholes in the system to bypass the restrictions. But it is increasingly difficult for either end to avoid restrictions, may it be young gamers or the companies behind online gaming.
The reason being is that after the restrictions were imposed, Chinese regulators further created a platform to police gaming firms. This platform allows the public to lodge a report against gaming companies that are involved in violation of restrictions on online games.
This platform has given the authority to the general public to police gaming giants like Tencent. Any Chinese ID cardholder can report a violation by attaching evidence and using its ID card. The platform was set up by China’s National Press and Publication Administration.
This further strengthens the restrictions imposed on online gaming where children are involved. It is expected from gaming companies to only allow a total of three hours a week of online gaming to children. This platform is also well received by parents who also appreciated the previous decision of restricted playing hours.
China Gaming Addiction
Moreover, gaming companies are also expected to comply with the rules and enforce restrictions via real-name registration systems. Children can only create accounts and profiles by using a real name instead of any other nickname. This adds to the responsibilities of gaming companies.
Besides the platform, the approvals of new online games have also considerably slowed down. The news was reported by South China Morning Post where it said that China has slowed down the approval process for online games.
The reason behind it is to bring down the number of online games and “reduce the gaming addiction.” Authorities deem that the number of games published in the first half of 2021 was a “bit too aggressive.”
The slow approvals of games aren’t the first of their kind in China. Back in March 2018, the government altogether stopped issuing game license approvals to companies. This led to a massive dent of $190 billion in market value off of Tencent and affected even badly the small developers.
Another reason behind slow approvals of the game is to heavily scrutinize the game content. Chinese government website read, “The authorities ordered the enterprises and platforms to tighten examination of the contents of their games, obscene and violent content and those breeding unhealthy tendencies, such as money-worship and effeminacy, should be removed.”
There aren’t any specific guidelines on the content, however, Xinhua’s English website said that the country’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism “will strengthen education on moral standards for all practitioners in the entertainment sector.”
This has also led to a buildup of negativity against effeminate men in video games. A Chinese associate professor at the University of Hong Kong says that the crackdown is motivated by a perception that, “effeminate men are physically weak and emotionally fragile,” which means that they are not man enough to defend the nation from threats.
Moreover, some leaders are also of the view that gaming is “contributing to a softening of character in young men.”
The whole campaign against the gaming sector and the topic “China Gaming Addiction” is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s efforts for “national rejuvenation” for a more powerful, healthy, and prosperous nation.
The campaign of national rejuvenation is not only limited to gaming but also extends the government’s influence to many other societal aspects like religion, culture, economy, technology, education, and more.