China has imposed a new rule limiting the gaming time for under-18s to three hours per week. As per a notice from The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) of China, minors will only be allowed to play from 8 pm – 9 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, including public holidays. This rule applies to all gaming devices, including mobile phones.
NEW: China’s gaming regulator imposes new restrictions on minors (Under 18s) in China, limiting them to 3 hours of gaming time per week in an effort to curb gaming addiction.
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) August 30, 2021
These come a month after a Chinese media house referred to online gaming as spiritual opium as the young were spending unhealthy amounts of time in front of the screen. State media was quoted saying “About 62.5% of Chinese minors often play games online, and 13.2% of underage mobile game users play mobile games for more than two hours a day on working days.”
This rule is also different from the one set in 2019 that allowed gamers 1.5 hours of game time on most days.
Massive blow to one of the biggest gaming markets
China is one of the biggest video games markets in the world, especially in the mobile games sector that generates billions of dollars every year with PUBG Mobile and Honor of Kings being the biggest contributors.
The repercussions of the new rules were felt across the world. According to Reuters, “Shares in Amsterdam-listed tech investment company Prosus (PRX.AS), which holds a 29% stake in Chinese social media and video games group Tencent, were down 1.45%, while European online video gaming stocks Ubisoft (UBIP.PA) and Embracer Group (EMBRACb.ST) each fell over 2%.”
According to the new rules, companies will be prohibited from “providing services to minors in any form outside the stipulated hours” and they will have to put restrictions on in-game purchases as well. Moreover, Regulators will work with parents and schools to combat addiction among the youth.