Well, it looks like there is still hope, and the Chinese gaming industry may still have a chance.
Three hours a week of online gaming is all that young Chinese citizens are allowed. China‘s leadership sees gaming as having a harmful impact on the healthy development of their youth, thus the government has established some of the world’s strictest rules on the matter.
Tencent Holdings, a Chinese tech giant, took the first steps in 2017 to limit underage access to online gaming. Many parents and teachers were worried that their children were developing addictions to gaming, therefore it was implemented to limit the amount of time children may spend playing. In 2019, authorities imposed their first regulations. This policy restricted kids’ gaming time to 1.5 hours each day, Monday through Friday, and 3 hours on the weekend. The guideline also restricted the monthly amount of money children could spend on in-game virtual items. Depending on the player’s age, the maximum amount ranged from $28 to $57.
Under the current set of rules, kids must use their legal names and ID numbers when signing up to play. The gaming industry in China has developed tools to identify underage players. However, many young gamers found ways to bypass the requirement, such as registering under the names of older relatives.
For the first time in 20 years, the Chinese video games market is expected to decline. This is due to a number of factors, including a drop in spending on mobile games, stricter rules, and more. Having started in China 20 years ago, this will be the first time a decline has been documented there. Many gamers under the age of 18 have given up the hobby as a result, resulting in 39 million reduced gamers. Recently, though, an article appeared in a state-owned Chinese daily that hinted at a possible change in policy.
Mobile Gaming stocks in HK jumped before Wednesday's close as People's Daily sees game tech helping industries in unleashing momentum for the digital economy and increasing the influence of Chinese culture.$XD +17%, $BILI +6.15%, $NTES +3.4%, $TCHEY +2.2% pic.twitter.com/PPyiqlZ8Z8
— CN Wire (@Sino_Market) November 16, 2022
The article elaborates on why it’s important to look into the video game industry and how it’s not all negative. It discusses how a highly valuable sector in China may go untapped due to the restrictions imposed on Chinese children. The article’s publication caused a rapid and dramatic increase in the value of Chinese gaming industry stocks within minutes. This could be due to the article’s potential to both inform the authorities and benefit the region’s gaming industry.
— Josh Ye (@TheRealJoshYe) November 16, 2022
Maybe things will start to change after the publication. The article talks about how the games industry in Europe has been a focus of growth, with the EU helping new companies get started and having a long-term plan for the industry. “Japan, South Korea, Canada, and Australia, among other places, have sped up the expansion of their video game industry,” the article said. “This has led the European Parliament to sound a rallying call for its growth.”
The article also elaborates on how video games could be a tool for “exchange and innovation,” which suggests that this industry could be a way to project soft power in the same way that South Korea has used K-pop, TV, and movies to influence the rest of the world.
However, it is yet to be seen how the Chinese authorities and government reacts to this, as there is no official reaction yet. As the news unfolds, we will keep you updated.