Several esports leagues have been impacted after China’s game regulators announced strict restrictions for minor gamers in the country, which restricts anyone under 18 years old from playing video games more than three hours per week.
Three mobile esports leagues—the Call of Duty: Mobile Masters, Peacekeeper Elite League, and the LPL Qualifier for League of Legends: Wild Rift—have been postponed as they each attempt to comply with the new policy.
In separate statements on Weibo, the leagues announced the competitions are being postponed to “carry out age compliance work for the contestants” (machine translated from Mandarin). As a result, the ongoing second season of the CoD: Mobile Masters China has been pushed back a week. Fourteen teams from across the country are competing in the LAN league for a share of the 3,000,000 Chinese Yuan (about $464,000) prize pool and a slot to the 2021 World Championship Finals. The new schedule for the final two weeks of the group stage is as follows:
- Week six: Sept. 9 to 12
- Week seven: Sept. 16 to 19
The LPL Qualifier, on the other hand, was supposed to begin on Sept. 6. As the name suggests, it features all 17 organizations from League of Legends’ premier esports league in the country competing in Wild Rift. It will now begin on Sept. 11.
The winner of the LPL Qualifier will be the second Chinese representative at the Wild Rift World Championship 2021. Besides this, the top five teams will qualify for the Wild Rift League, which will be a new competition for the mobile MOBA game in China.
The third week of the Peacekeeper Elite League (PEL) season three, originally scheduled from Sept. 2 to 5, has been postponed to Sept. 9 to 12. The PEL is played on Peacekeeper Elite, which is the Chinese remake of PUBG Mobile. The league grants crucial qualification points, which will decide the Chinese team at the PUBG Mobile Global Championship (PMGC) 2021.
China has been cracking down on online gaming for years, which it says is protecting the mental and physical health of children. Its old policy allowed the country’s youth to play games for 1.5 hours per day. This has been decreased to just one hour on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays between 8pm to 9pm under the new rules.
All three leagues have several underage players and it remains to be seen how they manage with these new regulations.