Last year, the Chinese government tightened the screws on minors’ gaming access, limiting play time to only three hours a week at specific times in an effort to combat the effect of what state news agencies called at the time “spiritual opium.” According to findings from a new study, the clampdown has apparently had the desired effect, as fewer of the country’s minors now play games during the given hours.
According to Niko Partners’ 2022 China Youth Gamers report, 54% of minors in the country are playing games at the appointed hour, and 77% of minors are playing fewer hours per week. The study further projects that 56% of the Chinese youth population will be playing games by the year 2026. For context, research found 60% of Chinese youths played games in 2020.
The timing requirements, readers will remember, had a wide number of knock-on effects for the games industry in the country including a tripping-up of Krafton’s IPO launch and stock losses for some of the country’s biggest gaming firms. The governmental restrictions on games didn’t just stop with minors, as Chinese officials also wrote new nebulous rules regarding “effeminate males” and “blurred moral boundaries,” put another freeze on gaming approvals that saw 14,000 firms die, and imposed official bans on streamers playing unapproved titles. That latest gaming approval freeze, incidentally, ended in April.