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Monday, August 30, 2021

China's Minor Game Restrictions Worse Than We Imagined—One hour a day for three days a week

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - So much for the videogame industry in China.

I have written a LOT about China and gaming restrictions in just this month. Let's briefly review.

Chinese state media bullied Chinese megacorporation Tencent earlier, comparing their mobile games to spiritual opium that is intoxicating the children with its addictive nature. (That's a very dishonourable comparison in Chinese culture.) China already had restrictions that kids can only play 1.5 hours of games a day... but Tencent would “voluntarily” bring that down to 1 hour a day to avoid the regulatory ire implied by the Chinese state media.

Less than a week ago, South Korea decided it would no longer be on the two-country list of governments that restricted minors’ ability to play videogames (it and China). In South Korea, kids can't play videogames between midnight and 6 in the morning. They're seeking to put in the legislative effort to abolish that restriction, leaving China by itself.

So what does China do now? As announced today, their bureaucracy is rolling out new rules: If you are under the age of 18, you can only play videogames for 1 hour a day... and only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. And only between 20:00 and 21:00. You can't make those times? Too bad.

On public holidays, they may also play one hour at those times. How many public holidays are there in China? ...A lot, but most seem to coincidentally fall on Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday. At least there are two Golden Weeks. One in February and one in October. That October one is going to come into play (pun intended), since the regulation is coming into effect! It'll be enforced by gaming companies with a real name verification system and the user's national ID, in an effort to prevent kids from making up fake identities. We know that Tencent will try to have your device take video capture of you to make sure you are who you say you are. (Fortunately, the Nintendo Switch, unlike a mobile phone, is the anti-spy console in that it lacks a microphone and a camera. ...Though they'll still collect your IP address and thus location.)

The regulation specifies “online gaming”, perhaps as opposed to offline gaming. That's a distinction that many media outlets aren't making, and it's also a distinction that I'd like to see the Chinese government define.

Is Ring Fit Adventure—an extremely popular game in China (and everywhere else)—an online game because you can connect it to the Internet for leaderboards and comparisons to your friends? Because if you could only play Ring Fit Adventure for an hour a day for three days in a week, you're not getting much out of it. Keep in mind that's not even an hour of exercise activity. It's an hour from start to finish. And that will be the only game you can play.

This will dramatically affect what games are popular in China and what games foreign companies will want to try to get approved in China. Games targeting children? Probably not going to be viable! Long (MMO)RPGs you gotta get into? Not going to happen. Trying to raise an eSports prodigy? Surely they'll need more than three hours a week to practice.

There's three solutions. One, try to move out of China (although they might not let you do that and may instead throw you into a slave labour camp). Two, don't play videogames as a child and then it'll be treated like alcohol (you can be addicted to it starting as an adult—though nothing would stop China from also banning games for adults later, mark my words). Or three, overthrow the Chinese Communist Party. KoopaTV is in favour of option number three.

KoopaTV is banned from being accessed in China through normal means. The Chinese Communist Party's goal of eroding the presence of videogames probably means no one would be very interested in visiting KoopaTV anyway. Aren't you glad you don't live in China? Fortunately, there's almost no time left in August for the Chinese situation to get any worse this month!

Fear not... China's anti-gaming antics resume in September. Along with limiting how long players can play, they're limiting the number of new games available.
According to interviews, Chinese parents are big fans of these restrictions!
The Chinese Communist Party has no issues with restricting game access for adults, either.


  1. ...Ok, yeah, that's just wrong on a multiplicity of levels.

    1. This is why the slippery slope shouldn't be dismissed as a mere "fallacy".

    2. It is a fallacy, except when it isn't. To put it more cogently, just because a slippery slope can be gone down doesn't mean it will happen, but there are times when the danger of the slope is very real.

    3. The key is when to recognise how real a slope's danger is.

  2. Well if South Korea didn’t want to change before they sure will now. I’m not suprised Chinas doing this, the first thing they do to gain control of a population is start burning the books. Video games have become a big part of the worlds culture, time to burn that too!

    Did you know there’s a gigantic Minecraft library dedicated to showing news that would ordinarily be banned in places like China or Russia. They’ve banned many news sources, but they haven’t banned Minecraft. Although this is a step in the “right” direction. hmmm >:(

    1. The fact that other journalists put attention to said library makes me wonder how long Minecraft will continue to exist in those places.

  3. Interesting note, koopa. Aside from the tan we see here, Kopatvs most prominent colors are red and yellow. Two colors which “coincidentally”, happen to feature on the Chinese flag. How do you explain that one Koopa?


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