New China videogame curfew in place for young gamers

A new China videogame curfew restricts gaming time for its young people (Picture: Think Tank Learning)

A new China videogame curfew restricts gaming time for its young people (Picture: Think Tank Learning)

The Chinese government is putting limits on when and for how long its young people can play videogames. The new regulations were announced by China’s National Press and Publication Administration, listing:

● Under-18s are restricted to playing online games between 8 am and 10 pm.
● Gaming time is limited to 90 minutes on weekdays and three hours on weekends and holidays.
● In-app purchases are limited to 400 yuan (£44/$57) per month for 16-18-year-olds. Under 16s are limited to 200 yuan (£22/$29).

The new rules are the latest attempt at regulating gaming time across China. In 2018, tech giant Tencent added real-name registration to its mobile game Honour of Kings to limit playtime to one hour a day. Real-name registration will now be enforced on a national scale, stopping kids using their parents’ names to unlock unlimited gaming time.

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With the new regulations, the Chinese government hopes to combat videogame addiction, which it believes is causing poor academic performance in schools across the country. The debate, whether videogames help or hinder concentration has gone on since gaming became a mainstream form of entertainment. But the reality is that a curfew may simply force young people to find workarounds.

One caveat is that the curfew only applies to online games, young people can play offline games as much as they want. There is also the fact that China is one of the world’s biggest gaming industries, complete with a thriving esports scene. It remains to be seen how restrictions will affect professional gamers, for which playing games is their primary source of income. But, as all of us who have been told by their parents to turn off their console because it’s time for bed – there’s always a way to keep playing.

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What do you think of this China videogame curfew? Let us know in the comments down below.

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I didn't play a videogame that wasn't Snake II or Pokemon Red until I was about 12. Since then I've been trying to make up for lost time, loving anything with a sprawling single-player campaign. And also lots of Halo.

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