China restricts minors online gaming to three hours a week, gaming companies share slide 

Young Chinese online gamers at an internet cafe in Fuyang, Anhui province.  Image:REUTERS/Stringer.

DHARAMSALA, 31 Aug: China has issued a new law allowing only three hours of online gaming time a week for its minors that courted criticism from young Chinese gamers on social media while shares of gaming companies have fallen. 

Beginning 1 September, video game companies will have to restrict the gaming time of minors to three hours a week — from 8 PM to 9 PM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday read a notice issued by China’s National Press and Publication Administration on Monday.

China cited “impact on both the physical and mental health of minors” due to online gaming which it said “has a negative impact on normal life, learning, and healthy growth” and declared that “all aspects of society, especially the majority of parents, have responded strongly” to the new law.

For its proper implementation, the order requires gaming companies to leverage a real-name-based registration system.

The law has courted criticism from young Chinese gamers on China’s Twitter-like Weibo while it has knocked shares in Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700. HK) and other gaming companies, Reuters reported.

“This group of grandfathers and uncles who make these rules and regulations, have you ever played games? Do you understand that the best age for e-sports players is in their teens?” read a comment while another one said, “Sexual consent at 14, at 16 you can go out to work but you have to be 18 to play games. This is really a joke.”

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