Tencent reacts to Chinese state media calling online games ‘spiritual opium’ by adding new restrictions


Young online game fans in China are going to be facing some new restrictions from Tencent-operated games. That’s in response to an article from the Chinese newspaper Economic Information Daily (EID), an affiliate of the country’s state-run Xinhua news agency, which called the company’s mobile MOBA Honor of Kings “spiritual opium.”

“‘Spiritual opium’ has grown into an industry worth hundreds of billions. […] No industry, no sport, can be allowed to develop in a way that will destroy a generation,” read part of the article.

The article actually caused Tencent’s shares to tumble to the point the company lost $60B in market value. Hours after the EID article was printed, the company announced that it would be introducing new limitations for children under 12 years old, including a prohibition against spending money in the game, and time restrictions from 1.5 hours to 1 hour on non-holidays and from 3 hours to 2 hours on holidays, starting with Honor of Kings.

For context, the subject of opium and its addictive properties is a sensitive subject for China, considering the substance’s history in the country, which escalated to the point that two wars were fought over the drug. Additionally, EID reposted the article with a significantly less aggressive tone, calling for authorities, game developers, and families to work together to combat addiction to online games in young children.

source: Reuters via Gamasutra
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