China restricts minors to playing just 3 hours of online video games a week starting September 1


China restricts minors to playing just 3 hours of online video games a week starting September 1

China is restricting all citizens under the age of 18 from playing online video games Monday-Thursday, and will allow only for one hour of play on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays between 8 pm and 9 pm.

This new policy was announced on Monday by China’s National Press and Publication Administration and will roll out on September 1. The Chinese state media recently referred to gaming as 'spiritual opium,' somewhat foreshadowing this move to restrict play time.

This will be enforced through the companies that provide online gaming services. Said companies will not be allowed to provide services to users unless they have created an account, (which reveals their age) and then must limit accounts belonging to children and teens under 18 to the aforementioned windows of time.

While this move is a crack down on gaming, it might not be as drastic a change as you'd think. In 2019, minors had restrictions of 1.5 hours any day of the week and 3 hours on holidays, and China had most gaming consoles outright banned from 2000-2015.

"Enforcement measures weren't detailed, but in response to previous moves by the government to limit video game playing by young people, Tencent Holdings... has used a combination of technologies, automatically booting off players after a certain period of time and using real-name registration and facial-recognition technology to limit game play for minors," explained the Wall Street Journal in its recent coverage of the matter.

These restrictions will apply not only to personal computers and gaming consoles, but also to smart phones. Given China's massive population, this will surely have an impact on the emerging global eSports market and culture.