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    China’s video game laws risk being a turn-off for the next generation

    The latest information on the game industry

    Xie Xiaoming is a typical Tencent customer. A 31-year-old telecommunications executive plays about eight hours a week, playing two of the company’s biggest video games, League of Legends and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

    “It allows me to relax,” he added, adding that he started playing computer games at the age of 16, said Xie from Anhui Province in southern China.

    “Playing games is a way to interact with old friends and it’s a lot of fun to be alone when you don’t feel like going out.” His partner doesn’t approve, but Xie plays games. We spend about RMB 200 ($ 31) a month on our purchases.

    But under the new rules that ban Chinese children from playing games for more than three hours a week, he may never have been a Tencent customer in the first place.

    NS Policy announced in late August, Game companies are demanding that children under the age of 18 be restricted to playing only from 8 pm to 9 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays or public holidays. The Chinese mass media said the move was designed to protect the mental and physical health of minors.

    The announcement is the latest in a series of regulatory measures on the technology sector, wiping out billions of dollars in the market value of Tencent and its rivals NetEase. Online games account for just under one-third of Tencent’s revenue.

    Both companies insisted that they would not be adversely affected and welcomed the restrictions. “In the last few years, we have noticed that there are certain games in the industry that have had a negative impact on children .. Therefore, we believe that new requirements, new regulations will allow teenagers to stay away from games as much as possible. “We are,” Netease founder William Ding said in a earnings announcement earlier this week.

    They say that a small portion of the game’s revenue comes from minors and that market share has recently recovered. But analysts are afraid that the rules will weigh on the pipeline of future gamers. Future gamers often develop habits as a child.

    Mio Kato, an analyst at Lightstream Research, which publishes on the SmartKarma platform, said investors “superficially see a single-digit low return on earnings of minors,” but “long-term earnings. We need to be concerned about the “very significant downside risk to”. “.

    “If you start playing sports at 10 or 12 o’clock, you are more likely to continue playing sports for the rest of your life,” Kato said. “If you can only play for 3 hours, many people choose not to play, which greatly reduces the value of your life. It’s a big risk. There is no goal-achieving process for people who play these games. . “

    Cai Rongjun, a 31-year-old doctoral student in Beijing, started playing video games at the age of 13 and now spends about RMB 2,000 on games, playing Tencent’s Honor of Kings for about two hours every day. .. “At first I played to interact with my classmates and friends, but after purchasing the skin, [costumes and accessories for players’ avatars bought inside the game] Task, you start to get addicted to it, “he said.

    A 2013 US survey of the history of video games for adult gamers said: .. .. Not in adulthood, but in late puberty. ”

    However, other analysts have said that the new rules will not have a significant impact on revenue, as other regulations, both government regulations and voluntary regulations imposed by businesses, have been in force for child gamers for a long time. Said.

    In 2019, China limited children to 1.5 hours daily and 3 hours on holidays. Tencent then vowed to stop spending money on games for young children and deploy facial recognition technology to prevent minors from evading control.

    Kids may also use Tencent and its rivals’ streaming services to increase the amount of time they spend watching other people play games online. “Minor who adheres to game time limits can fill their free time with more streaming video than they do today,” said Nico Partners, an Asian game market research firm, in a memo. .. “Streaming video time is already limited to minors, but not as much as the new rules for games.”

    Both companies still have an enviable user base.About 110 million minors play video games in China, but most of China 720m gamer According to a March survey of 4,500 respondents by game market data provider Newzoo, 18% of domestic gamers were under the age of 18.

    Some children may also violate the rules, perhaps by using a virtual private network (VPN) to access foreign gaming sites. “Young gamers can bypass the new rules by logging in to a global server via a VPN. [to] Avoid time limits, “said Nico Partners.

    A 16-year-old gamer who has already spent RMB 1000 on Honor of Kings in Henan Province in central China is playing with his brother’s account, so to play his brother’s account when the new policy is applied. He said he would spend more time. “”[The new regulation] Because parents hate games. “

    Additional report from Nian Liu of Beijing

    China’s video game laws risk being a turn-off for the next generation Source link China’s video game laws risk being a turn-off for the next generation

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