Chinese officials have been fighting players for many years, trying to limit the time they spend in front of smartphone screens and PCs. The main goal of the government is invariably children and teenagers, who, according to the rulers, distract from science and sports, leading to the deepening of social problems and the scourge of addiction to games. To a large extent, however, this is just a convenient excuse. This is because lawmakers mainly want to maintain full control over the youngest citizens who spend most of their free time in cyberspace.
The party is supported in the fight for healthy and energetic youth by some parents who are threatened against the dangers of games by the government-controlled media. Last November we have described the mandatory game time restrictions that were launched at that time for underage citizens, as well as the so-called virtual curfew during which they cannot play online. We remind you that people under the age of 18 are strictly forbidden to play online between 22:00 and 8:00. During the week, underage players can play with games for no longer than 90 minutes. On days off and on public holidays, this time is extended to 180 minutes a day.
From September, another and the most severe stage of restrictions will be introduced. All underage Chinese who want to play in the title of their choice available in the country will be required to confirm their identity. It will be possible thanks to special logging systems prepared and tested for some time by Tencent and NetEase companies, which exercise almost complete control over the domestic gaming market. Children will be forced to enter their real name and, in some cases, also scan their faces with a smartphone camera.
The Chinese government says the restrictions are introduced solely for the sake of children.
However, as the first examples of security circumvention show, the implemented protection system is not perfect. The forbidden fruit tastes best, yeah young players bypass new restrictions in different ways. For this they use, for example, false identification data, impersonate other people or use smartphone cafeswhere you can rent gaming phones by the hour. On the other hand, strict rules do not have to be concerned with children from wealthier families, who are used to the fact that their parents’ golden parachute will save them from trouble.
The new restrictions are undoubtedly another obstacle thrown at the feet of foreign developerswho want to offer their titles in the Middle Kingdom. China is currently the largest and most attractive gaming market in the world, worth tens of billions of dollars. It brings significant profits every year, which have built the power of technological giants such as Tencent at a rapid pace.
Right now, it’s harder than ever to officially release a game in China. Determined to make this move, producers must not only meet the long and sometimes absurd list of expectations for title content, but also share their profits with local government-tied distributors. This includes the Tencent company, which has already been mentioned several times. In the past six months, only one hundred authorized games were officially released in China, most of which were domestic productions.
The restrictions imposed on players are in line with the increasingly tightening course of the Chinese party towards its citizens. The government is afraid of the rising tide of conflicts and protests resulting from widespread corruption of officials and related businesses, a slowing economy, and trade wars with the US and the rest of the world. The party is thus striking more and more nationalist tones and fights against fanciful foreign influences as well as “unpatriotic” and “immoral” attitudes among citizens, an example of which is gaming addiction.