As of this week, minors will only be allowed one hour of play between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Fridays, weekends and holidays, according to a statement from the Chinese media watchdog – the National Administration of Press and Publications (NPPA) – which has been published. by state news agency Xinhua on Monday.
NPPA noted this week that the rules were published “at the start of the news [school] semester, by imposing specific requirements to prevent online gaming addiction and protect the healthy growth of minors. “
An intensifying repression
Alicia Yap, analyst at Citi, said she expected the impact of the latest restrictions on game companies to be “minimal,” with less of a “single-digit” impact on Chinese revenue. for Tencent and NetEase.
“That said, we believe this will represent yet another setback for the industry and potentially send another wave of negative sentiment to the market and lower overall investor expectations for the future growth of the gaming industry,” he said. she wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday.
At a press conference on Monday, a spokesperson for the NPPA said the new strict restrictions were a response to complaints from parents.
This week, he reiterated that policy, with the NPPA noting that “online gaming companies will not provide gaming services in any form … to users who have not registered or logged in with their real name.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Tencent said it has been working on “various new technologies and functions for the protection of minors” since 2017.
“This will continue, as Tencent strictly adheres to and actively implements the latest requirements of the Chinese authorities,” the company added.
Martin Lau, the chairman of the company, also said at the time that “there were a lot of new regulations coming up, but we’re pretty confident in our ability to comply.”
Under these rules, minors could only play the game for two hours on public holidays and one hour on other days.
The statement came after a Xinhua-owned newspaper published a lengthy review that used terms such as “spiritual opium” and “electronic drug” to describe the harmful effects of play on children.
NetEase did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The new rules sparked an uproar on Chinese social media, where many users complained that they were being too strict.
Others worried that it would ultimately put the country behind in the competitive gaming world.