The Chinese government is introducing a significant crackdown on gaming for minors as state media has reported that children will only be allowed to play games for three hours a week on most weeks; online gaming specifically will be allowed only between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Fridays, weekends, and public holidays. The new rules further mandate that all online games be linked to a state-run anti-addiction program, requires online gamers use their real names, and will empower regulators to increase checks over how gaming firms carry out restrictions on things like playing time and in-game purchases. Regulators will also reportedly work with parents and schools to combat a perceived addition to online gaming among China’s youth.
In addition to these new restrictions on play time, President Xi Jinping indicated during a committee meeting that there would be additional anti-monopoly policies meant to curtail the “disorderly expansion” of large tech and improve China’s economy.
Readers will recall that China’s tamping down of online gaming, especially for minors, has been an increasing focus of the country’s government, which in turn has had knock-on effects to Chinese gaming publishers. In the beginning of August, Tencent began imposing restrictions for minors on its games after state media referred to online games as “spiritual opium,” while that same article had a splash damage effect on Krafton’s IPO offering.
The current restrictions instituted by China have already begun to take their toll on the stocks of companies like Netease and Tencent, the latter of which saw its stock price tumble as much as 9.3% in pre-market trading in New York while Prosus NV, Tencent’s biggest shareholder, saw prices fall in Europe.