China on Monday announced a severe cut to children’s online gaming time to just three hours a week during span time and this latest move in a broad is going to be a crackdown on tech giants in the world’s biggest gaming market.
According to a state news agency Xinhua, gamers under 18 will only be allowed to play between 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, in what it described as a bid to control the addiction in the gaming-crazy nation.
While, on school holidays, children will be allowed to play a little longer, with the provided time set at 60 minutes each day. When registering to play online the gamers are required to use their ID cards to ensure minors don’t lie about their age.
The National Press and Publication Administration said in a statement, “Gaming addiction has affected studies and normal life… and many parents have become miserable.”
Companies are banned from offering gaming services outside the specified hours, although the statement did not make it clear how rule-breakers would be punished.
An earlier restriction in place since late 2019 banned late-night games and restricted players to just 90 minutes of playtime on weekdays and three hours on weekends and holidays.
Gaming seems to be the latest target for the big companies, hit by a bundle of rules introduced in recent months to weed out the excesses of the culture among Chinese youth, from worsening eyesight to online addiction.
The big tech companies have been ruled by the China’s Communist rulers since a long time and other powerful sectors that draw hundreds of millions of consumers.
The industry — which made revenue of 130 billion yuan ($20 billion) in the first half of this year according to the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association — has been slammed in menacing state media reports in recent days, with one article labelling games as “spiritual opium”.
In July Chinese tech giant Tencent rolled out a facial recognition “midnight patrol” function to root out children masquerading as adults to get around a government curfew on underage gamers.