Chinese gambling platforms such as Tencent and NetEase must limit online gaming for minors to just three hours a week under new rules imposed by regulators on Monday. according to Bloomberg referring to state media reports. The change is being made in response to growing concerns about video game addiction and a wider crackdown on the Chinese tech giants.
Children under 18 are now allowed to play for one hour on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8pm to 9pm; and on public holidays. That’s a change from the previous limit of 1.5 hours of online gameplay on most days. Gaming companies should restrict online game play outside those hours, according to Reuters, and should have a real name verification system to ensure the new rules are enforced.
Regulators say they will also work with parents and schools to help fight video game addiction among Chinese youth.
The new rules issued today come a month after an article published by state media described online games as “spiritual opium.” Although the sentence was later removed, the tone of the article, especially in retrospect, left little doubt that state intervention was inevitable.