China’s new rules forbidding under-18s from playing online games for more than three hours per week to curb youth video game addiction.
China’s National Press and Publication Administration announced yesterday that gamers under 18 are only allowed to play online between 8-9 pm on Fridays, weekends and holidays.
The authorities have instructed gaming companies to prevent children from playing outside these times.
Under new rules, young gamers must register with their ID cards to play online to ensure they do not lie about their age.
“Gaming addiction has seriously affected study life of the youth, as well as their physical and mental health. It has created a series of social problems, and many parents have become miserable,” said the Chinese regulator in a statement.
The move comes after the Chinese government labelled video games “spiritual opium” earlier this month, concerning the impact of excessive gaming on the young.
Beijing’s latest crackdown on online gaming has sent shares of gaming companies into a tailspin.
Shares in Tencent, the world’s largest gaming firm by revenue, fell about three per cent after the restrictions were announced yesterday, but recovered somewhat today.
US-listed NetEase fell 3.4 per cent on Monday, with its Hong Kong shares down by two per cent today.
Tokyo-listed Nexon and Koei Tecmo, both exposed to the Chinese market, were also down 3.2 per cent and 3.7 per cent, respectively.