Breaking:China has established the strictest video game age restriction ever.

On Aug 30th, 2021, The National Press and Publication Administration of China issued a new mandate (No.14 2021), establishing the strictest teenage video game time restriction ever.

According to the new mandate, players under the age of 18 can only have 3 hours of legal game time every week, including a one-hour session every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and an extra one-hour allowance on holidays.

Before the new mandate, players under 18 could have 3-hour play sessions during weekends and holidays, and 1.5-hour sessions on weekdays. The new mandate has reduced underage players’ legal weekly game time by almost 80%.

Not so long ago, an article published by a minor state media criticized the video games industry and compared video games to opium. The article caused a panic, and the Chinese video game industry lost more than RMB 500 billion (~USD $75 billion) in stock market value in only 5 hours. The article was soon pulled down and published again with very different phrasing and tone. This was seen by some as a poorly executed action by the administration to ‘test the water’.

A publishing license is required for any game that is published legally in China. Normally, these licenses are issued out monthly, but none of them were issued this August. In 2018, the Chinese administrations stopped issuing these licenses for 9 months, and more than 40,000 game developers went out of business as a result. 

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