A hot potato: China has taken a new step in its war on online gambling by reducing the time under-18s can spend in this activity to just one hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays. Previously, minors could access online games for an hour and a half on weekdays and three hours on holidays and weekends.
Xinhua State News Agency (via The Guardian) reports that the rules, announced by China’s National Press and Publishing Administration, mean that under-18s will now only be allowed to play online games between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. local time, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Online gaming companies will be prohibited from allowing access outside of these days and times, meaning that there will be no access Monday through Thursday, unless it is a public holiday. .
The companies behind the games will need to enforce the policy making sure to implement real name registrations and logins, the games regulator said. Xinhua writes that the National Administration of Press and Publications has also warned that companies will face an increase in the intensity and frequency of inspections to ensure that they comply with the rules on deadlines for minors. . Any breach of this obligation will be severely penalized.
The Chinese government has long had a grim view of video games, especially those of the online variety. Only a few weeks ago, Xinhua called them “electronic drugs.” The comment caused Tencent and NetEase shares to fall more than 10%, wiping out nearly $ 60 billion from the former’s market cap, which may explain why the state later said it was not from an official position.