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China Sets Extreme New Rules for Young Video Game Fans

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According to new rules put forth by China's government, kids under the age of eighteen will not be able to play more than 90 minutes of video games per weekday. China has grown to be an important marketplace for game development companies, especially for corporations like Activision/Blizzard and their stakeholder Tencent, which is both based in China and the largest gaming company in the entire world.

According to projections, China will have more PC players than the United States has citizens by the year 2023, thanks in part to the proliferation of massively popular MMOs like Fantasy Westward Journey and shooters like Crossfire, which recently was announced to finally sport a Western release at E3. Although relations between the country and certain gaming companies have at times been tense, as China banned Pewdiepie, South Park, and even, for a brief amount of time, Pokémon Go due to perceived slights against the country's communist government and/or alleged safety concerns, it remains a massive source of income for many developers.

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Now, that same government has set out a list of rules and regulations which all gamers under the age of eighteen must follow. According to a report published by The New York Times, kids will no longer be able to play games between 10 PM and 8 AM, and they will not be allowed to play for more than 90 minutes a day during the weekdays. In addition, players who want to purchase microtransactions will now be limited to spending only $57 per month.

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The Chinese government has stated these new regulations are intended to curb the threat of video game addiction among the country's youth, believing it to be the cause for China's recent rise in nearsightedness and drop in academic performance. According to the Times, these rules are an "attempt to rein in China's online gaming industry... which generates more than $33 billion in annual revenue." Indeed, younger players who want to purchase microtransactions have an even smaller limit than teens, with their purchases being capped at $28 per month. However, it will be interesting to see how enforceable these rules are, as many games simply do not connect to the internet or can be logged into with a parent's account.

What is inarguable is the fact this is but another step in China's ever expanding control over the gaming marketplace. While these rules only apply to Chinese citizens, those players make up a staggeringly large portion of some game's online communities, and many developers will surely tailor their games in such a way as to be able to comply with the country's standards in order to get their product on Chinese shelves. With the rampant misuse and abuse of microtransactions and pay-to-win features put forward by so many game development companies these days, not to mention the story about the one player who spent $150,000 in Transformers micropayments, such regulation was only a matter of time.

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Source: The New York Times

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