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Summary:

The Chinese government will begin regulating the number of hours that minors spend playing online games starting April 15. The new law requires national game providers to install anti-addiction software that warns under-18 gamers when they have played longer than three hours a day, what the […]

The Chinese government will begin regulating the number of hours that minors spend playing online games starting April 15. The new law requires national game providers to install anti-addiction software that warns under-18 gamers when they have played longer than three hours a day, what the government considers a “healthy” level.

Gamers that continue to play above the three-hour mark will only receive half the normal points up to five hours. After the five-hour mark, players receive zero points in addition to an annoying message every 15 minutes that reads: “You have entered unhealthy game time, please go offline immediately to rest. If you do not, your health will be damaged and your points will be cut to zero.”

Keeping in mind I’m no World Of Warcraft player, the “three hours a day will keep the doctor away” system seems generous, especially for youngsters. My democratic roots from an American upbringing, however, take issue with the whole government mandate thing. It just doesn’t feel right.

Still, even here we regulate unhealthy drug use including alcohol levels and prohibition of cigarettes and booze from minors; something video games have been likened to, however justified. Therefore, the question largely remains whether or not game addiction significantly damages an individual’s health beyond repair like that of addictive narcotics. But of course, where do you draw the line (e.g. incessant TV watching)?

While a bummer for kids trying to level up in a short amount of time, how will the “game fatigue system” affect Chinese adults? “The system will only target minors who lack the self-discipline to control their playing time,” said state official Kou Xiaowei in the China Daily report linked above. But the new rule requires that every online player, regardless of age, register using their real identity; something that could negatively affect the bottom line of game makers in the country. “This will scare away many adult and young users,” said analyst Liu Bin of BDA China, also in the Daily report.

So will the “anti-online game addiction system” work? Maybe a little. Official statistics show that more than 85% of online Chinese gamers are over the age of 18. You gotta believe a large number of them are playing more than three hours a day. So perhaps even adults “lack the self-discipline to control their playing time.” Start ‘em young, I guess.

  1. very interesting read, that must suck for the chinese gamers though, i hate being id’d for things like liquor… i can only imagine being outraged by being id’d to play a video game lol…

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  2. This is ludicrous. Maybe it’s my non-socialist upbringing that can’t seem to get my mind around the whole idea of “government mandated gaming limits”. What complete hogwash.

    Oh, and 3 hours/day on World of Warcraft is nothing to most gamers. You might as well just not play it.

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  3. [...] kommúnistarnir í Kína halda áfram að hafa vit fyrir fólkinu í landinu. Skv bloggfærslu frá GigaOM munu Kínverjar ætla að hefta tölvuleikjanotkun unglinga. The Chinese government will begin [...]

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  4. But how do they know their age?

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  5. But my ip does.. children we are all followed and maintained.. But I personally like it the way that if I don´t mess with them they won´t mess with me and vice versa.

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  6. Hey,

    Want to weigh in on video game addiction– a real issue or just hype?

    We want your comments, webcam responses, and links which you can post here:

    http://current.com/items/77414191_are_video_games_the_new_cocaine

    On current.com you can join our expanding global dialog– and you just might end up on TV.

    Thanks!

    Kasia

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  7. [...] continue to play beyond the three hour mark but after five hours, points possible drop to 0 and the following message is displayed every 15 [...]

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