China to force game companies to limit teenagers' game hours

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The Chinese government has set a three-month deadline for Chinese online games companies to impose limits on the amount of points teen gamers can score once they’ve played for three straight hours is a day.

It’s part of their attempt to limit the amount of time under-18s spend online, after a report from the China National Children’s Centre said that 13% of under-18s using the web were already addicted to online gaming.

Gamers who play for between three and five hours at a time are to have their points halved, whilst those playing for more than 5 hours will get no points, and a message will appear on screen warning them that they’re entering ‘unhealthy game time’.

Gamers will need to verify their age using their real name and identity card number.

It sounds as if fantasy games that twist history to anything that China doesn’t approve of are also for the chop, such as the Swedish game Heart of Iron which shows Tibet as an independent state.

Julien Pain, from the press reedom organisation Reporters Without Borders, said that Western gaming companies were so keen to get into the massive Chinese market that they would likely be willing to listen and implement similar schemes in order to get their games into China.

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Andy Merrett