On January 17, Tencent Games unveiled gaming restrictions for minors over the upcoming winter holiday: Chinese gamers under 18 will be limited to one hour of gameplay per day on 14 designated days.
The company provided a calendar detailing the specific times and days between January 17 and February 15 in which minors are allowed to play.
Gaming is restricted to the hour from 8 to 9 PM on precisely 14 days, marked in red on the calendar shown below, including statutory holidays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Youth are barred from playing games on unmarked dates.
The announcement aligns with a broader push by the government to combat excessive gaming and video game addiction among Chinese youth.
In August 2021, China’s National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), the government body that oversees gaming and media in the country, issued new regulations that online gaming companies are only allowed to provide services to minors for a maximum of three hours per day.
NPPA also stated in the new rules that all gamers must be registered under their real names and that game providers must tighten their login requirements.
After Tencent announced the playtime limit for minors during the winter vacation, Weibo users quickly responded with a healthy mix of sarcasm and support. The hashtag for the announcement had more than 11 million views at the time of writing.
Many netizens supported the rules but argued that parents bear greater responsibility for their kids’ behavior.
One user commented, “Parents think that their children are often annoying them, so they give them their mobile phones and let them play by themselves. In the end, they blame the game company for harming their children.”
Other users joked about the measures and questioned their usefulness.
“Parents should be limited to 14 hours of mahjong and 14 hours of TV at most during winter vacation,” one posted.
Another chimed in, “I feel that extreme regulations will have the opposite to the desired effect. If you restrict kids like that now, they’ll play desperately for revenge when they grow up.”
“First time I’m happy to be born before 2003,” wrote another.
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Several comments noted that kids can still use their parents’ identification to sign in, either with or without parents’ approval.
Tencent addressed this issue in the Monday announcement, noting that kids who use adult identification would be met with facial recognition measures during login. The company also encouraged parents to set the Tencent Games service to youth mode, further restricting access for youngsters in the home.
According to app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, consumer spending on PUBG reached 244 million USD in December 2021, making it the highest-grossing mobile game of that month worldwide.
In September, Tencent announced that it had sued more than 20 online gaming trading platforms for providing adult accounts to minors. They’ve even sent cease and desist letters to major ecommerce companies like Taobao and JD.com to address the issue.
Cover image via Onur Binay on Unsplash