Since 2019, the Chinese government has tightened the restrictive measures on the use of video games in minors to prevent them from becoming an addiction and thus having more time to dedicate to school and living with their family. In many cases, as soon as the children arrive from school, they spend the whole afternoon and a good part of the night glued to their console.
As of the new school year, minors should not use their video games during the week, only on weekends and also certain hours each day, since it is not a matter of wanting to recover everything they played from Monday to Friday in three days. Surely this measure will not sit well with those under 18 years of age who spend their time playing online, as they are the ones to whom this measure will be applied.
Since 2019, minors have been allowed to connect for only 90 minutes from Monday to Friday and three hours on weekends. According to the National Press and Publications Association (NPPA), from the beginning of the new school year, they will not be able to connect from Monday to Friday. Only one hour will be allowed on Friday, another on Saturday, and one more Sunday. In addition, on holidays they will be able to play for an hour.
(The ban will go into effect) at the beginning of the new (school) semester, setting specific requirements to prevent addiction to online games and protect the healthy growth of minors.
The opinion of some analysts is that it is not an initiative to protect minors, but part of an offensive by the Chinese government against the private initiative, as the sector of technology investors and online games already had repercussions: NetEase ( NTES) fell 3.4 percent and Tencent (TCEHY) had a similar decline, but was able to recover by 1.6 percent.
That said, we believe it will continue to represent another setback for the industry and potentially send another wave of negative sentiment to the market and lower overall investor expectations for future growth in the gaming industry.
-Alicia Yap, Citi analyst
The NPPA assures that this measure is a response to the growing complaints from parents that they say that their children have neglected their studies due to spending too much time in online games, so it was already necessary to put more limits on the schedules. For some years, to create an account in online games, you have to give your real data.
Many parents said that the addiction of adolescents to online games seriously affected their studies, their physical and mental health, causing a series of social problems, causing many parents to suffer. Online games companies will not provide services of games in any way to users who have not registered or logged in with their real names.
For its part, the company Tencent, which produces online video games, assured that it would comply with all the regulations of the Chinese authorities. In addition, he made it clear that they do not expect great effects because those under 16 only represent 2.6 percent of the total users of their games. The important thing here will be to see if minors can comply with the restrictions.