The new rules published on Monday (30 August) by China’s National Press and Publication Administration aims to impose limits on online gaming for kids and teens under 18 years old, reports CNBC.
From 1 September, video game companies have been mandated to restrict gaming time to three hours a week — from 8 PM to 9 PM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) argues that online gaming has a negative impact on both the physical and mental health of children and the stated move aims to tackle addition to online games.
China's gaming giants from Tencent to NetEase had already dealt with an onslaught of regulation this year in areas from anti-monopoly to data protection, and the latest move only adds to their woes.
In order to comply with the regulations, game companies will have to leverage a real-name-based registration system that Tencent started using in 2018 to limit play time on popular game Honor of Kings.
As per the system, the users have to go through an ID verification system while signing in, which means that a user can only have one account associated with his or her real name. Further, regulators will routinely examine if the companies are complying with the mandate.
The companies also will not be allowed to provide services to users who haven’t logged in with real-name registration.
Following the news, Tencent issued a statement stating, “Tencent expressed its strong support and will make every effort to implement the relevant requirements of the Notice as soon as possible.”