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A dating stimulator has recently become the first-ever R18 game in Mainland China (UPDATE)

By Isabella Jiangcheng
Aug. 18, 2021 updated 02:09

Update Aug 26th, 2021: Light and night issued their stage 2 plan, forbidding users under 18 to log in to the game altogether. These underaged users can choose to keep their accounts,  and get a quite generous compensation package once they reach legal age and log back to the game.

Light & Night, a popular dating simulation game by Tencent, has released an unexpected statement: the game will stop allowing new registration by users under the age of 18 from August 17th 2021.

 In a statement on its official Weibo, Light & Night claimed this latest update was to ‘further strengthen the protection of minors’ and to ‘create a healthier online gaming environment’.

Only three days before publishing this new age restriction policy, Light & Night has canceled its anticipated Qixi (Chinese Valentine’s Day) events. Some gameplay elements of the event, including characters having intimate conversations with the player to express their affection, and a ‘Truth or Dare’ challenge that might have some suggestive interactions were deemed to be inappropriate by concerned parents and communities.

 Another dating simulator Mr. Love: Queen's Choice had to edit some of its make-out scenes in its March update due to similar complaints.

 China’s recent focus on parental control has stirred up conversations within the gaming industry once again. Several games, including Arena of Valor, have further reduced underage users’ daily playtime allowance and prohibited them from making in-game purchases.

 It is still a bold move that Light & Night actively labeling itself as an R18 game and suspend minor users from registering altogether. Since explicit erotic content is technically illegal in mainland China, there is still no concrete definition of what should be considered as R18, despite the fact that the industry and some governing bodies are advocating for a better age and content rating system, and made some serious progress over the years.

The majority of the female gamer community actually embraces and celebrates the new age restriction, believing the R18 self-regulation could potentially relax some of the moral tension, allowing this genre of games to provide the romantic experience that players actually enjoy.

Light & Night has not yet announced any potential actions on current underage users, who are authenticated with their real social IDs.