Beijing announces new measures to limit amount of money, time people can spend on video games

Video games. Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

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IBNS: The Chinese government is planning measures to limit the amount of time and money people can spend on video games.

The restrictions are aimed at limiting in-game purchases and preventing obsessive gaming behaviour, BBC reported.

The draft legislation is a blow to the world’s largest online gaming market, which is still recovering from a previous crackdown, the British media reported.

The planned curbs also reiterate a ban on “forbidden online game content that endangers national unity” and “endangers national security or harms national reputation and interests”.

According to reports, China first restricted the gaming sector in 2021 when online gamers under the age of 18 were allowed to play for an hour on Fridays, weekends and holidays.

Online games must not offer rewards that entice people to excessively play and spend, including those for daily logins and topping up accounts with additional funds, said the industry regulator, the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) as quoted by BBC.

Hong Kong-listed gaming stocks, including Tencent, nosedived following the release of the draft. Tencent shares slid 12.4 percent while NetEase shares plunged 24.6 percent as of Friday closing, reported Global Times.

Zhang Wei, vice-president of Tencent Interactive Entertainment, told the newspaper that the Beijing’s new draft measure does not fundamentally change key elements such as the business model and operational pace of the gaming industry.

“The regulatory authorities have released the new draft of the management measures to seek opinions from the industry, which is more conducive to the orderly and healthy development of the gaming industry,” Zhang was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

A business insider in Guangzhou, who works in the game publicity sector and preferred not to be identified, told the Global Times: “It will change the operation mode of each phase of game publishing and operation, such as game research, maintenance and promotion.”

An expert feels that the new draft will be implemented only after getting industry’s feedback.

“It may be finalized after hearing industry feedback and making adjustments,” a game developer surnamed Cheng, based in South China’s Shenzhen, told the Global Times.