Many of us grew up playing video games. We would often have marathon gaming sessions with our friends. We would spend our weekends up to the wee hours in marathon sessions. Our summers would also have these extended sessions.
Well, the Chinese Government has decided that this would not be part of the lifestyle for it’s youth this week. As reported by The New York Times, not only are there restrictions on the duration in which children play, but also on their spending habits.
The 6 main parts of the regulation are:
- Real name registration for users.
- Restrict the duration that minors play online games for no more than 1.5 hours on weekdays and 3 hours on holidays.
- Regulate the amount that minors spend on online games. For children between the ages of 8 and 16, the monthly recharge amount can’t exceed 200 Yuan ($28.59) and 50 Yuan ($7.19) for single charges. For children over the age of 16, the amounts are raised to 400 and 100 Yuan ($57.18 and $14.29) respectively.
- Strengthen Industry Supervision. Local publishing management departments will ensure that online gaming companies adhere to the guidelines.
- Adjust age restrictions for online games based on content and gameplay.
- Guide parents and schools on enforcing the new guidelines.
These restrictions are aimed at making children more productive and healthier. However, one can’t help but wonder if this is a result of the recent Blizzard Software issues regarding players speaking out against Chinese actions in Hong Kong. This will certainly mean that games that rely on loot boxes, micro-transactions, and subscriptions will certainly make less money from children.
What does it all mean?
Surely, they will make game publishers more aware of the habits of their younger player base. Do you think if the industry doesn’t make changes in their business practices that Western governments will follow suit? Some European countries, and even Washington State, have looked into loot box practices as gambling. It is worth noting that the restrictions only mention online games. Will they also apply to single player games? If not, could we see single player games continue to rise in popularity? How much will this change gaming around the world?