China is hardening its stance on video games in what seems to be an effort to prevent Myopia (near-sightedness) from developing within children and teenagers.
The BBC reported the recent update as China is now implementing new guidelines when it comes to games. This includes limiting the number of online games coming into the country and also controlling the play-time that parents let their children have. There will also be a new age-restriction system implemented as well.
A report made back in 2015 concluded that over 500 million people in China suffer from some form of visual impairment. That’s just over half the country’s population. The Chinese Ministry of Education came to the conclusion that these results can be traced to heavy study loads, lack of physical and outdoor activity, as well as the rise of smartphones and electronic devices.
As the world’s largest video game market, this will have huge developments on the gaming economy, as game developers will now have much difficulty launching their games within the region.
Back in August 2018, China officially stopped approving games to be released in the country, an announcement made by the multinational conglomerate company, Tencent. According to their quarterly earnings report, the freeze prevented many games from being monetized, including PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
This isn’t the first time China have pressed concerns on how much of an affect video games have the nation’s young people. Last year in August, parents and teachers were convinced that children were heavily addicted to the MOBA title, Honor of Kings. In response, Tencent created new age-restrictions to prevent children of a certain age from playing the game. They even introduced in-game contracts between parents and children, controlling how much time they play per day as well.
With the whole country now authorizing these new restrictions, money will also become an issue. Tencent has already been the first to feel the consequences of such actions, with its stake in the Chinese market falling by 5% as of today. That cuts down their market price by around $20 billion.
An analysis predicts that game companies in china will have to seek more secure connection outside the country in order to get their games published, meaning they will have to be more reliant on the international market. Tencent has already made such connection by owning League of Legends maker, Riot Games, and Clash of Clans creator, Supercell. They have even now entered into a partnership with Square Enix.
For the concerned parents of China, sacrificing billions of dollars of market shares is a may be considered a fair sacrifice if it further protects the health of children. But only time will tell to see who truly benefits from such a massive change in the Chinese gaming market.