After several weeks of nervousness over China's freeze on video game approvals, developers' worst fears have been confirmed. China does indeed want to severely regulate the number of video games it approves - albeit for an unlikely reason.
Chinese president Xi Jinping, in remarks reported this week by Chinese news outlet Xinhuanet, said the video game regulation was because he "cares for the children's eyes" and wants to "let them have a bright future". At a glimpse, a sensible declaration - clearly, the man is a true visionary.
But this was just the beginning of the war on myopia. Yesterday, the Ministry of Education gave more detail, and announced the Chinese government would implement a number of regulatory measures to combat the health problem. One of these involved restricting the total number of online games, and controlling the amount of new online games allowed into the country. To help protect the childrens' eyes, it will also review the age-ratings system and adopt measures to limit the amount of time minors can play.
As the document is fairly vague, experts are saying it's currently unclear just how restrictive the regulations will be. But in the context of the Chinese government's clampdown on tech companies, and the recent freeze in video game approvals, it seems likely games will be subject to more censorship. Of course, this is definitely all about eyesight. Yep.
The news has hit the largest gaming company in the world, Tencent, pretty damn hard. The company, which owns Riot (League of Legends) and has a significant stake in Epic (Fortnite), saw its share price drop by five percent in a day (why couldn't it be ten though? Gah!). This latest setback also comes after Tencent was forced to remove Monster Hunter World from its Chinese platform WeGame after "a large number of complaints" were made to regulators.
It's likely we'll hear more details about this in the current weeks and months - although, in typical Chinese bureaucratic fashion - it's unknown when this will be.
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