China further restricts online gaming for kids and teens. Under the new rules, minors are only allowed to play on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays between 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. According to Xinhua State Office, the measure is intended, among other things, to combat gaming addiction.
Effectively, it comes down to teenagers playing online for a total of three hours a week. Thats much less than today according to Bloomberg news agency: in 2019 it was decided that minors are allowed to play 1.5 hours on the internet every day. “This is an example of how deeply the Chinese government intervenes in citizens private lives,” says Correspondent Garrie van Pinxteren.
Chinese opinion makers once labeled gaming as the new opium. They interpret the regimes vision that young people are too busy with it. “The Communist Party prefers teens to focus on their studies or physical activities. Beijing thinks games and gaming addiction undermine youth health.”
Thats why the companies that offer the games will be allowed to open the servers for minors only an hour a day. Since all players need to register with their age and full name, the ban is likely to be easy to maintain.
Too powerful and rich
In addition to protecting youth, Beijing has other motives for the decision according to Van Pinxteren. “This comes during a major crackdown on tech companies and certainly gaming companies too. The government believes that they have gained too much power and have become too rich.”
An example of this trend is the billion-dollar fine for online store giant Alibaba earlier this year. The Jack Ma disgraced company had to be broken down compulsory. Thats how other tech companies have been addressed in recent times.
Chinas largest social media and gaming company is Tencent. When state media gaming was labeled as opium, the billion-dollar companys stock market value temporarily plummed by 10 percent. Compared to the end of last year, the company has virtually lost nearly 40 percent of its value.