If you live in China, get ready for the government to tell you when you can play video games.
SHANGHAI, Aug 30 (Reuters) – China has forbidden under-18s from playing video games for more than three hours a week, a stringent social intervention that it said was needed to pull the plug on a growing addiction to what it once described as “spiritual opium”.
The new rules, published on Monday, are part of a major shift by Beijing to strengthen control over its society and key sectors of its economy, including tech, education and property, after years of runaway growth.
The restrictions, which apply to any devices including phones, are a body blow to a global gaming industry that caters to tens of millions of young players in the world’s most lucrative market.
They limit under-18s to playing for one hour a day – 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. – on only Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, according to the Xinhua state news agency. They can also play for an hour, at the same time, on public holidays.
The rules from the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) regulator coincide with a broader clampdown by Beijing against China’s tech giants, such as Alibaba Group (9988.HK) and Tencent Holdings (0700.HK).
The campaign to prevent what state media has described as the “savage growth” of some companies has wiped tens of billions of dollars off shares traded at home and abroad.