China Slows Down Game Approval

Following up on game time regulations.

The South China Morning Post is reporting this week that the Chinese government has slowed down approval of new online games. This news comes alongside reports that Chinese authorities have been grilling companies like NetEase and Tencent on dealing with lax enforcement of new regulations, as well as minors cleverly circumventing those restrictions. The headline refers to the change as a slowing down of approvals, however the article notes that new game approvals are on a complete hold for a while.

Another person, who was also briefed on the discussions, said new game approvals would be on hold “for a while” because the priority was to “cut the number of new games” and “reduce gaming addiction” in the country, which is the world’s biggest video gaming market. This source, who declined to be named because the matter discussed remains confidential, also described the approval of new games in the first half of this year as being “a bit too aggressive”.

September marked the implementation of new regulations in China aiming at cutting down on video game addiction among youth. Minor gamers will be restricted to three hours of game time per week, between the hours of 8 and 9, on weekends and holidays. Developers are required to have real-name verification on games to prevent circumvention.

Already children have figured out methods of circumventing the regulations, including a budding industry renting accounts to minors. Tencent has already filed a lawsuit against over 20 of these services, suggesting the Chinese government is also pressuring these developers on enforcement.

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