China brings the new internet teenage mode as an effort to tackle gaming addiction

Following the announcement of the brand new rule in China to tackle adolescent addiction to online games, they have brought forward their pilot of the new internet teenage mode to do so earlier today. The new rule states that gaming time for players aged under 18 would be limited to only 3 hours of playing time, that is, 1 hour each on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

It is to date the toughest measure undertaken by the country for the purpose and has been met with general shock and dismay. As of today, the pilot version of the teenage mode has been sent to the tech companies which will abide by the government’s approach to curbing game addiction among the youth, reported SCMP Tech.

Companies have been asked to promote good values for youngsters across the country

Besides video games, the 20-point guideline issued from Shanghai has also been applied to video streaming platform Bilibili, e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu, and web novel company China Literature. As per the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the Shanghai guidelines “puts forward higher requirements in terms of strengthening the supply of positive energy content, verifying the authenticity of young people’s identity, and limiting the length of time they can use the internet.”

The guideline has further asked companies to include and supply a plethora of educational, knowledgeable, and scientific content for the concerned youngsters to promote good values. Separate restrictions are to be applied in the case of under 16 and over 16 children. A part of these exclusive restrictions states that those under 16 cannot live-stream while those over 16 but under 18 cannot donate or present any virtual tokens or gifts to a live-streamer.

Tencent Games collaboration serious games, China measures video game addiction
Tencent Games, one of the companies severely hit by these measures

However, Chinese game developing giants Tencent and NetEase was summoned to a meeting with the esteemed Chinese officials in order to discuss the implementation of the new law and to plan workarounds to avoid improvisations made by the Chinese teenagers to outsmart the implementations in the future.

Game development and licensing have stalled in the light of the new law

The Chinese authorities have decided to slow down approval and license granting for new games to make sure that all the implementations under the new law are followed diligently and without leaving chinks in the armor. The decision was taken after the meeting of Tencent and NetEase with Chinese authorities National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took place. Also, with piloting the new internet teenage mode in China, the authorities are trying to implement a strict restriction.

Another reason behind the issuing of these guidelines is to reduce game addiction by cutting the number of new games released which is bad news for gaming companies as China is the largest video gaming market in the world. According to an attendee of the conference who has declined to reveal his identity, the licensing process is being put on hold to “ensure a smooth and successful deployment” of measures to reduce gaming addiction in minors.

The NPPA has also not published their usual monthly list of approved games this August, breaking their streak of doing so since 2019. No date has been revealed as to when this temporary hold-up will be cleared. This will result in huge losses by the big game developing companies while it will simply spell doom for the small publishers and might very well result in them being shut down.

In addition, video gaming companies were directed to cleanse their video games by removing their authorities described as the “wrong set of values”, including “worshipping money” and “gay love”. They were also reminded not to maximize their profits from video gaming and ensure that young people do not get addicted to games.

Wild Rift, China internet teenage mode
Image via Riot Games

Moreover, recently, Tencent announced that it has postponed the launch of its most anticipated mobile game this year, League of Legends: Wild Rift from next week to the day after the National Day holiday as they have planned “another round of testing”. League of Legends: Wild Rift, a modified version of the personal computer game League of Legends, received its license from Chinese regulators in February this year.

What are your thoughts on the new internet teenage mode in China? Drop your opinions in the comments!

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