China limits online games to three hours per week for children

In a major change for China’s gambling market, the country has enacted new rules that ban children from playing online for more than three hours a week most weeks. According to reports from Bloomberg, children under 18 will only be entitled to one hour per day from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Online games will also be permitted for children on vacation. To apply the new rules, gaming companies will have to use “real name registers”. There will also be regulations and controls in terms of in-game purchases, and efforts will be made to tackle gambling addiction.

Understandably, many game companies feel the new regulations are too strict and the rules already seem to be having an impact on the markets. However, in-game purchases made from minors make up a very small portion of the profits for some companies. Apparently, children’s spending is less than 3% of Tencent’s gross gaming revenue.

“Since 2017, Tencent has explored and applied several new technologies and functions for the protection of minors,” Tencent said in a statement sent to Bloomberg. “This will continue as Tencent strictly complies with and actively implements the latest Chinese authorities’ requirements.”

It will be interesting to see the long term impact of these policies! While companies like Tencent may not earn much from minors, these policies could generate less interest in online gaming from the general population. If the efforts are successful, it could also encourage lawmakers in other countries to apply similar methods. The addiction and expense of online games is a very real problem for some players, and there is a strong argument to be made that the “gacha” elements in some games can be considered gambling.

In recent years, much attention has been paid to the predatory aspects of online gaming. Streamers like Asmongold have criticized microtransactions and how they make gaming less enjoyable in general. These new regulations could even convince the industry to completely move away from the microtransaction model! For now, we’ll just have to wait and see!

What do you think of these regulations in China? Should there be similar restrictions for children in other countries? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk about everything related to games!