Young Chinese gamers just can’t seem to catch a break these days.
The Chinese government has launched a new website where citizens can report games that violate its new laws. It is meant to alert law enforcement of games that do not enforce the government’s new restrictions on the amount of time young people can spend playing video games. This website is not used to report the Chinese children that break the law, only the game that attract them.
China recently enacted new laws that limit the amount of time young people can spend playing video games. The rules are very harsh, limiting citizens under 18 to just three hours of gaming every weekend, from Friday through Sunday. The new legislation is the latest in a series of anti-gaming laws enacted by the country. Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken a public stance against video games, citing potential addiction and financial problems, particularly in young people.
The new website allows players to report publishers for three violations. Players can report games for not recording players’ real names, not enforcing the three-hour weekly limit, and not placing limits on account spending. The government recently met with more than 20 Chinese video game publishers, including Riot Games owner Tencent, to set up the enforcement measures.
China’s National Press and Publication Administration is in charge of the new whistleblowing website. The NPPA’s primary purpose is to oversee China’s news and publishing industries. It also has jurisdiction over other media, including video games.
In addition to encouraging whistleblowers, the Chinese government has also banned the appearance of “non-traditional” subjects in the media. Banned subject matter includes feminine men, same-sex relationships, and celebrity worship. China’s government is now very unlikely to approve new media that contains any such imagery.
The biggest obstacle to China’s new gaming laws is enforcement. Younger players have set a precedent of outmaneuvering previous gaming laws, often by using the identity of an older relative. If game developers bake enforcement methods into their games, it will make it easier for law enforcement to track down gamers who violate the rules. Controversial facial recognition technologies have also been suggested as a possible enforcement solution.