What just happened? China doesn’t exactly have the greatest reputation when it comes to allowing its citizens significant levels of personal freedom, but for young Chinese gamers, the situation is about to get even worse. The country’s government has announced a set of new “initiatives” aimed at preventing minors from “indulging” in online video games.
The six guidelines were announced in infographic form, and they’re all written in Chinese — since most reliable translation services are not yet able to transcribe images, credit goes to CNN for providing the information in plain English.
According to the outlet, the new rules will block Chinese youth (those under 18, specifically) from playing online games between the hours of 10pm and 8am; effectively creating a video game curfew. Further, under-18s will be restricted to a mere 90 minutes of online play per day on Monday through Friday, though this restriction is relaxed somewhat to three hours on weekends and “public holidays.”
For more hardcore Chinese gamers, this restriction could prove to be quite frustrating, especially if they happen to be aspiring e-sports pros (an increasingly-popular career option in the modern era). Any professional Overwatch player will tell you that 90 minutes of practice per day is far from ideal if you want to hit the big leagues someday — that also doesn’t leave much time for “leisure” play.
Of course, it’s worth noting that these rules only seem to apply to online games. This might be due to the difficulty associated with monitoring playtime in offline games, but it’s difficult to say for sure. Regardless, if you’re a Chinese teen who spends most of your gaming hours in titles like Skyrim, The Witcher 3, or The Outer Worlds, you might be in the clear.
Anyway, moving on. The new rules also reportedly aim to restrict the amount of money minors can spend on their favorite online games — those between the ages of 8 and 16 can only add up to $29 to their digital gaming wallets every month, whereas older players (16-18) can put in about $57. Again, these restrictions don’t seem to apply to the purchase of single-player or otherwise offline experiences.
The last few infographic items are not really rules at all, but vague plans for future video game regulation. For example, China aims to “strengthen” its supervision of the video game industry while also exploring the implementation of improved age verification systems.
Finally, the country wants to incentivize parents, teachers, and authorities in other social groups to establish “correct” online gaming habits and behaviors among young people.