China’s strict laws on gaming ineffective in curbing excessive gaming, research finds

China has one of the strictest gaming regulations globally to restrict people from spending too much time playing video games. While this is the case, a new study has found that the time limits on game time haven’t been effective in reducing playtime.

China, which has famously called video games “spiritual opium” through a state media article, aren’t fans of the country’s youth investing time into gaming. The crackdown on video games first came in 2019 when the government restricted playtime to 90 minutes a day on weekdays. Additionally, minors couldn’t play video games from 10 PM to 8 AM daily.

The Asian country further tightened these in 2021 when it said that minors could only play for an hour on weekends and public holidays. A paper published in the National Human Behavior and reported by Games Industry Biz found that there wasn’t any evidence to suggest that the strict rules impacted excessive gaming in the youth.

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Strict gaming rules in China ineffective in reducing playtime according to a new research

The research was conducted in partnership with Unity and examined the behaviour of Chinese gaming profiles between August 2019 and January 2020. In conclusion, though, it found that there wasn’t any “credible evidence” to suggest that the laws were indeed ineffective in reducing excessive gaming.

This isn’t a surprising outcome. While China has implemented strict rules that gaming companies like Tencent attempt to follow through ID and face recognition, there are still ways to work around them. This includes playing different video games or having multiple accounts. These accounts can be owned by an adult or parent.

While heavy gaming hasn’t been suppressed, the rules have certainly had an impact on the overall playtime. A Niko Partners study in 2022 found that 54 percent of China’s young gamers were complying with the regulations. While that is still a small percentage of the total, the complete effect of the rules will likely be felt gradually over the years.

Read Also: Chinese teen spends parents' life saving in a $64,000 gaming spree
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