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China bans kids from microtransactions

Restrictions on content, play time too.

China's Ministry of Culture has issued new regulations banning children from using virtual currency to buy items in games.

The new rules, reported by Xinhua news agency (via GameSpot), also include restrictions on "unwholesome and corrupting content" and kids' gaming time.

The controls are made possible by a requirement that online game players register with their real names.

Minors will be banned from buying or selling items with virtual currencies, although the purchase of "products or services" will be allowed.

Game companies will be required to develop "techniques" limiting children's gaming time in order to prevent addiction, an issue which has been in the headlines in China since a series of deaths among "internet-addicted youths" last year. But the techniques, or the amount of gaming time, aren't specified.

The Ministry also requires companies to develop means to keep children from playing "inappropriate games", forbidding online games from including content that involves pornography, cults, superstition, gambling and violence.

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Oli Welsh

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Oli was Eurogamer's MMO Editor before a seven-year stint as Editor. He worked here for a colossal 14 years, shaping the website and leading it.

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