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October 22, 2021

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The new limits give Chinese e-gamers a whirl.

The new limits give Chinese e-gamers a whirl.

By Paul Mazur and Elsie Chen., New York Times Company.

China’s video game industry is booming. But that’s certainly not the case with game designer Stone Shi in China.

Xi, 27, got his first job in 2018, when Beijing temporarily suspended approval of the new games. Next year, the government will set new limits on juvenile play time. A few weeks ago, the rules were still strict. People under the age of 18 can play only three hours a week on weekends.

“We never hear any good news about the gaming industry,” Xi said. “We have this joke: ‘Every time this happens, people say it’s the doomsday for the video game industry.’ So we say, ‘Every day is the Day of Judgment.’ ‘

This is a bit of an exaggeration. Xi stays at work, and millions of Chinese play games every day. Minors still find their way around government blocks. Chinese tech companies, such as Tencent, are the backbone of the global gaming industry. The country is also working hard to embrace competitive gaming, build sports stadiums and make college students important in this regard.

Still, China’s relationship with the Games is complex. A major source of entertainment in the country, sports offer a social shop and easily accessible hobby in a country where rapid economic growth has affected social networks and there are long moments of work. The multiplayer mobile game “Honor of Kings”, for example, has over 100 million players a day.

For years, though, authorities – and many parents – have been concerned about possible ups and downs, such as drug abuse and disorder. A more patriarchal government led by Chinese leader Xi Jinping has turned to direct intervention in how people live and what they do for fun, gaining control of video games high on the priority list. Is. Among other activities, like celebrity fan clubs, Xi’s government has increasingly viewed sports as an unnecessary distraction – and at worst, a social disease that threatens the cultural and moral leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

On social media, gamers are amazed at the latest rules. Some reported that the age of sexual consent, 14, was now four years younger than the age at which people could play without limits. Although minor Chinese video gaming accounts for a small portion of revenue, shares in gaming companies fell on concerns about the long-term impact on gaming culture.

Despite the anger, Xi said, the party and industry are growing in line with government demands. For most adults, the new ban has little effect. For companies, this is just another barrier to entering a profitable industry.

Many in the Chinese gaming industry agree that games are lacking. The most popular games in the country are made for smartphones and are free to play, meaning that businesses that live and die based on how much they attract consumers and Pay them extra. Game developers have become experts at hooking players.

But top-down efforts to keep children out of sports – which state media have called “poison” and “spiritual pollution” – sometimes get worse. Boat camps fond of military discipline have sprung up. So there are accounts of abuse with the Chinese media, such as beatings, electrocoliotherapy and solitary confinement.