China Continues Strengthening Controls of Online Games for Teen Anti-Addiction

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China Continues Strengthening Controls of Online Games for Teen Anti-Addiction


Chinese authorities on September 8 summoned major online gaming companies such as Tencent [0700:HK] and NetEase [NTES:US], along with game account rental and game broadcasting platforms, reiterating the gaming anti-addiction policy implementation to protect teenagers, as reported by Xinhuanet on the same day. The central agencies included the Publicity Department of CPC Central Committee, National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA), the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), and other ministries. In the latest meeting, the departments ordered those companies to change gaming rules and designs for anti-addiction, strictly manage gaming promotion, forbid teenagers from rewarding game broadcasting hosts, not offer teenagers gaming account rental services, and else. Besides, the requirements also included resisting unfair competition and monopoly in the game industry.

China started the regulatory enhancement of the domestic game industry in 2018, with the launch of a national-level anti-addiction real-name authentication platform last year. The platform now has covered over 5,000 companies and more than 10,000 games. Game companies like Tencent and NetEase also released their own anti-addiction measures, including citizen ID number authentication and facial recognition verification, to prevent teenagers from excessively playing games and buying gaming items. Most recently, on August 30, Chinese regulators issued one more notice to significantly tighten the restrictions on online game companies. Those firms can only provide game-playing services to minors for one hour per day on Fridays, Weekends, and public holidays. At the same time, game developers should absolutely implement the real-name registration and login requirements of online game user accounts.

Facing tightening regulations, China’s game industry still keeps growing. In 2020, the sales revenue of the country’s game market reached RMB278.69bn, increasing by 20.7% YoY. Moreover, the revenue of Chinese self-developed games exceeded USD15bn in overseas markets, reaching an annual growth rate of over 30%. During the first half of 2021, the sales revenue of the domestic game market was RMB150.49bn, up by 7.89% YoY, and the number of players rose by 1.38% YoY to reach 667m.