China’s government drafts new restrictions on gaming time, spending and login rewards, and lockboxes

We never like these things.

The Chinese government has decided to once more consider a tightening of the thumbscrews on gaming, as regulators in the country have issued a draft of new rules that are focused almost exclusively on online games, specifically on limiting time spent in-game, rewards for logging in daily, and the amount of money players can spend.

Among the draft rules published by China’s National Press and Publication Administration are a prohibition on offering daily login rewards or additional rewards for “excessive spending” for online games, a cap on how much players can top up their accounts along with a required pop-up that warns against “irrational consumption behavior” for all games, and multiple rules regarding lockboxes that include ending sales to anyone under the age of 18, a “reasonably set” limit on pulls, and the requirement of having the exact same or similarly functioning lootbox/lockbox rewards available for direct purchase.

The news sent Chinese gaming megacorp stocks into a tailspin as investors sold off huge amounts of shares, with Tencent stock value tumbling by as much as 16% and NetEase falling as much as 25%. However, according to a Mastodon thread written by legal expert Leon Y. Xiao, there might not be cause for intense alarm: His first impression after reading the draft leaves him believing that it restates existing rules or makes reasonable demands, and he also suggests that investors didn’t read the draft or just panicked at any regulation whatsoever.

“Not quite the war on Games as a Service (GaaS) that I was expecting to read,” Xiao argues. “Setting monetary spending limits (although how much?) and having pop-up warning windows are both great interventions that are worth trialling.”

sources: South China Morning Post via NDTV and Reuters, Mastodon, cheers Schmidt and Felix!
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