China’s game regulators have cut the amount of time under-18-year-old players can spend playing video games, the Chinese media revealed today. From now on, minors will be limited to three hours of gaming during the week and just one hour on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays between 8pm to 9pm amid the growing concern of gaming addiction.
At other times, online gaming providers aren’t allowed to offer their services to minors in China. The regulators argue the new policy was made to protect the physical and mental health of minors. The gaming providers will also need to implement a real-name registration verification and are forbidden to provide game services to those who have not registered or logged in.
The previous policy in place in China allowed minors to play for 1.5 hours a day, making this is a significant change. The new regulation comes just days after South Korea revealed plans to overturn its law that blocks young players from playing online video games late at night, so China will be the only country whose government controls gaming hours.
There are around 110 million Chinese minors who play video games today, according to video games industry specialist Daniel Ahmad. Giant gaming company Tencent had already agreed to work with the Chinese regulators to limit the number of hours minors can play and said that players under the age of 16 account for approximately 2.6 percent of its “total player spend,” according to Ahmad.
With the new policy in place, the Chinese regulators revealed it will increase the frequency and intensity of inspections for online gaming providers to ensure these companies are limiting the time minors can play and have an anti-addiction system.