Playing videogames, especially online games in this day and age, has garnered quite the wide range of reactions from many quarters. True, some games are just so intense and incredibly popular that developers have been able to open E-sports leagues with dedicated competitors who could potentially make a profession out of gaming. But the fact remains that many gamers are young school-age youth who sometimes skip classes for more time in front of a monitor. The story is the same in China, where the fun is carefully overseen by the national government. But this new regulatory move is particularly restrictive.
As The Verge tells it, the Chinese government has leaned heavily on the country’s biggest online game company, Tencent, to introduce a new registry system to allow fans to play their library of games. Soon, Chinese customers signing up to play Tencent game titles must register their national IDs as proof of their identities and ages against official Chinese police records. This figures into an earlier government mandate that would prohibit online gamers aged 12 and below from playing more than an hour a day, and players 13 to 18 from playing more than two hours daily, with a blanket 9 PM curfew against both.
Before, underage online gamers could cheat the initial regulations by simply playing their favorite Tencent games using their older relative’s mobile devices. The inclusion of a national ID registry for allowing access to these titles, some of the most popular online games not just in China but the world, has closed that old loophole and made gaming a bit more restrictive. Tencent has been ordered by the government to have the ID registration system in place on at least ten of its games by year’s end, with the rest expected to fall in line 2019.
This resurgent trend of stronger online gaming restrictions in China comes in the wake of Communist media decrying the market as “poisonous” to Chinese youth. Examples were pointed out of Tencent offering “Arena of Valor”, which was so addictive that internet cafes were filled with obsessed players. Also an issue was the rising wave of children who are near-sighted, who risk ruining their vision further by looking too close to the screen. A new graphical update on “Arena of Valor” would now blur the game image if one looked too close. Finally, the Chinese government also put a strict moratorium on the development and release of new online game titles.
Aside from “Arena of Valor” and similar home-developed games, Tencent is also the Chinese host for outside hits like “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” and “League of Legends”. It is considered the largest game company in the world.
Images from GameSpace, NDTV Gadgets