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China's strictest regulation towards minors' game playing

The Chinese central government has released an intensive Notice regarding minors' addictions and overuse of online games. The Notice is carried out almost simultaneously as the Ministry of Education announced a new reform at the beginning of the new semester.

This Notice is resolutely for preventing minors addicted to online games and effectively protecting minors' physical and mental health based on pre-existing management policy.

As required, online game providers should strengthen the authentication of game players and strictly limit their serving time to players under 18. All online game enterprises are only allowed to provide one hour of service to the minors on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and statutory holidays, from 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. At any other time, Online game enterprises should not provide services to minors in any form.

Besides, game producers shall strictly implement real-name registration and login requirements of online game user accounts and not offer game services to users without real-name registration.

Undoubtfully, the Notice is nationally acknowledged as the strictest rule in history. The primary purpose of the Notice is to facilitate the online game enterprises, schools, parents to work in harmony and coordination to build up a healthy and positive environment for the children's grow-up.

However, there is still a long way to go, more than just one piece of restraining paper. The media recently reported that a primary school student in Jiangsu province was cheated out of more than 1,000 yuan by adding a stranger as a friend who falsely claimed to remove the time limit for minors to play video games.

As requested, the victim, Xiao He[Alias], sent his mother's WeChat account and password. The swindler immediately transferred 100 yuan out and borrowed 1150 yuan through the friends and relatives in that account, posing as Xiao He's mother.

The policemen caught the cheater in a short time, but the chaos remained. In addition to the fraud against students above, some minors turn to their grandparents unfamiliar with modern technology to bypass the real-name sign-up or face recognition; Some arbitragers even put their adult accounts on the platform for rent, and the cost reaches 30 yuan per hour.

Besides the chaotic phenomena, many are concerned about the domino effect on the related industry. Surprisingly, several game-industry insiders have analyzed that the industry's response to the high level of regulatory requirements is not sensitive.

An insider at a Game development company in Beijing said that the market reaction is much better than expected. "Minors themselves are not our target group from the beginning, and a complete legislative ban may be more beneficial to enterprises." He pointed out that minors' consumption of games has raised many disputes in the past few years. Many parents claimed compensation for their loss when they found out their children secretly spent their parents' money buying virtual products.

"It's also a protection for us because some parents didn't want to undertake their obligations. They shifted all the responsibilities to the game providers, saying that we induced their children to consume and asking for the full refund."

Zhang Yi, founder & CEO of a consulting company, also pointed out in an interview that the regulation will not directly impact the current game industry because the major consumer group of games is still adults who can pay. Compared to adults, teenagers actually spend very little on games.

In terms of the E-sports industry, another insider said that this policy would hinder the development of e-sports in a short time.

"I think limiting the playing time of minors will do more good than harm to the long-term development of the esports industry. Many underage players are sent to youth training center at the age of 14," he said. "This age group has not formed a correct personality and complete knowledge system, and it is difficult to predict how their future development will be."

"It only takes about six months of training to tell whether a player has an esports talent. If a player wants a long-term and healthy development in esports, it's more suitable for them to choose this career after getting into the college." He suggested.

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