China ‘solves’ gambling addiction

Two young people play video games on computers under dim lights and neon lights

An esports-themed hotel in Hangzhou, China is just one of the ways China’s gaming scene depends on long gaming sessions, something China has worked hard to limit.
Photo: RST/AFP (Getty Images)

‘Solving’ gambling addiction seems as simple as ‘solving’ alcoholism, but China’s state-affiliated body overseeing video games appears poised to call recent efforts to limit video games a ‘success’. use of games by children.

The FinancialTimes and Reuters both reported that China’s state-aligned committee on video games released a report Tuesday that says the country has somehow “solved” underage gambling addiction. The country has had regulations in place since August 2021 when it attempted to impose a play curfew for children that limited them to one hour of play on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. At the time, the Beijing government called video gamesspiritual opium.”

The G-aligned China ReportThe ame Publishers Association Publications Committee, or GPC, noted that 75% of minors gamble less than three hours a week. The report also seems to indicate that China may be willing to forgo the strict regulations that have haunted the country’s video game industry. Major Chinese game publishers have also received props for their efforts to cut underage gaming time, according to Reuterss report. Tencent used technology as invasive like facial recognition to prevent minors from participating in late-night gaming sessions.

The new report comes just a week after Chinese state media People’s Daily wrote an editorial called Exploring the value of the electronic games industry in depth is an opportunity not to be missed. The article reportedly presented the game as another aspect of China’s approach to the world stage, writing that the European Union has given the games “extremely high economic, technological, cultural and even strategic value”, essentially arguing that China should do the same.

These regulations put immediate pressure on major Chinese game publishers, including Tencent and Netease, to actively restrict underage accounts to limited gaming sessions. And it wasn’t as simple as spoofing users’ login credentials to pretend they were over 18, as the government imposed rules that all users had to be verified with a real identity. The China Game Publishers Association attempted to retaliate against the outraged gaming industry by poetically arguing that games were not “ferocious deluges or wild beastsand that the right kind of game could emphasize “positive energy” for video gamers.

That’s not to say the ever-cunning kids haven’t found flaws in the system. Some young people were leasing or even pure and simple purchase of accounts so they can access their favorite games. Other reports noted that youngsters could simply access the games using parents’ accounts. This calls into question the alleged 75% reduction in children’s play time.

Yet in its latest quarterly earnings report, Tencent said it was “fully compliant” with Chinese regulations, meaning time spent by young people online was down 92% year over year. another, according to Chief Strategy Officer James Mitchell in the company’s November report. 16 earnings call.

The relaxed focus on children’s gaming addiction takes the turn as tech giants Sony and Microsoft seek to fight for incubate more games made in China. Sony plans to invest over $140,000 in each game company that comes forward. Microsoft also plans to form a team to research more games made in China, according to unnamed sources cited by Reuters. The developers of the hugely popular Genshin Impact, the China-based HoYovere, was would have approached by Microsoft to make it an Xbox exclusive in 2020, though they obviously haven’t reached a deal.