According to the latest news, China is amending its law regarding digital media consumption in the country. Reports suggest that online games that are addictive and “induce addiction” will face a ban in China if they don’t take steps to tackle overuse by June 2021. The reports suggest that the ban will not only be limited to games but it will also be implemented on social networking platforms and live streaming websites.
According to Engadget, the developers of such games and websites have to incorporate measures so that addictive usage and application consumption can be monitored.
It must be noted that in the past games such as Tencent’s Honor of Kings had implemented a feature to restrict users from playing the game for too long. These features were eventually rolled out in response to mounting pressure on game developers from the government.
Tencent once again announced plans to introduce time-based game contracts for its games. In this time based contractual framework, players will have to sign in a digital contract where they are required to get good grades or finish house chores before they can play more.
Just to let you know, Engadget reported that back in 2018, China formalized its work towards moderating game content through an Online Games Ethics Committee. Since then, the governing body has banned games right away or sent them back for changes. Last year, gaming industry leaders of China and People’s Daily, a state-owned newspaper joined hands with each other to work together on a game rating system. Each and every game was rated an age rating of 6+ or 12+ or 16+ or 18+. Note that this system plays the same role as PEGI in Europe and ESRB in the US.
However, this time, the ban is not limited to games only which means besides game developing companies, social networks, and streaming service developers will also have to put measures to curb prolonged usage in China. In addition to that, users will be able to ask internet providers to respond to cyberbullying cases and internet providers will even have the authority to take down online content from a website.
China is one of the world’s biggest consumers of video games so it does make sense that the government wants to fight the addictive nature of such games and websites. We have to wait and watch what it leads to as there is a chance of censorship and knee jerk bans which will be bad for the industry as a whole.