China continues to crack down on the video game industry. On April 15, the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) announced on its website that the distribution of video games not approved by Chinese regulators would henceforth be prohibited.
China wants more control over video games
” For some time, the rise of social issues such as livestreaming chaos and teenage video game addiction has drawn great attention from society and urgent action is needed to regulate it strictly. », Expresses the NRTA in its report.
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Affected by these new restrictions, streaming services like Huya and DouYu, short video sharing platforms such as Douyin and variety shows. It is now necessary for them to have an authorization from the NRTA to broadcast online foreign competitions or programs derived from foreign video games.
This announcement comes a few days after the new approval of video games in China. The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) published a list of 45 new licenses authorized in the territory on April 11, 8 months after the last one published in July 2021. Of these new approved games, none were developed in the foreign.
However, foreign video games remain very popular
Even though Beijing has never really been a fan of video games, China remains the industry’s largest market globally. It benefits from a large audience of both players and spectators. The latter are not satisfied only with games authorized by the government. For exemple, Elden RingFromSoftware’s latest game released in February, garnered nearly 17 million daily viewers on Chinese streaming platforms in its first week.
” A license has always been required so that video games can be distributed or broadcast in China “says Daniel Ahmad, analyst at the research firm Niko Partners, “ the latter was rarely applied. She will be now “.
Following these announcements, Tencent, the head of the world’s largest video game company by revenue, also announced the discontinuation of its “game booster” service. It allowed Chinese gamers to access unapproved foreign games by bypassing the “Great Firewall”.
Fight against the abuses of video games
If China is so firm vis-à-vis the video game, it is to fight against the reproduction of behaviors driven by certain titles. Violence, death, deviant behavior such as witchcraft or human sacrifice are in the sights of Chinese regulators. In August 2021, the official Chinese daily theEconomic Information Daily called online games “opium for the mind” and an “electronic drug”.
Beijing remains very firm on the protection of minors. In his reportthe NRTA specifies that each streaming platform must have a system of protection of minors in order to warn teenagers of the potential risks of addiction to video games, while preventing them from giving their money to streamers as support.
China had already made sure to limit the playing time of minors. Today, Chinese youth are only allowed to play for an hour a day, on weekends and holidays. What, according to the Chinese government, to curb and reduce the influence of video games on their behavior.