Beijing’s grip on the video game industry is not easing. Indeed, the signals that are filtering from the Chinese government are even in the name of further tightening. In the last few hours, in fact, it has emerged that the People’s Republic of China has slowed down the approval of all new online games. The umpteenth tear in a story that has been taking place for a few weeks now.
After having ignited a mini-debate in the national press in the first week of August, Beijing regulators have introduced new restrictive measures on online video games for under 18s, in an attempt to curb video game addiction, a widespread problem in the country that affects above all the youngest. Hence the new time limits: from 20:00 to 21:00 from Friday to Sunday and no more than three hours a week. The National Press and Publication Administration has issued the notification “for the effective prevention of children’s addiction to online games” in order, the official media reported, “to address the problem of excessive use by children of online games” .
Now, as the South China Morning Post reports, the restriction on the approval of all new online games has also arrived. The move emerged after a meeting between Chinese authorities and industry giants (Tencent Holdings Ltd and NetEase Inc), and for now it is not clear how long this limitation will last, whose effects on the mobile gaming industry (dominant in China ) can be important. Also because slowing down the approval of new games is a form of contrasting the game that goes beyond the age limits. While the time limit, in fact, concerns only minors, this new situation has an impact on all gamers, and on all companies in the sector.
As widely explained these days, it is not the first time that China intervenes on video games and minors. Chinese users under the age of 18 were previously allowed to play online on weekdays for up to 90 minutes, with no connection after 10pm and before 8am. While, on holidays and weekends, minors could have access to online games for up to three hours a day. From the beginning of September, however, the new limits (only three hours a week). And now the decision to slow down the industry, slowing down the approval of new games.