Chinese Game Companies Pledge to Self-Regulate to Comply With New Gaming Regulations
Last month, we reported how China’s government was cracking down on gaming time for kids, reducing the available hours for play to three hours a week. These regulations have been felt throughout the gaming industry domestically and abroad, with Roblox complying with new regulations and LDL teams scrambling to ensure their rosters did not have minors actively competing on them. While the regulations have seen some companies working to make sure they’re compliant with China’s new gaming regulations, loopholes and workarounds have seen increased use as minors resort to creative means to log into their favorite games, as reported by the South China Morning Post. Now, it seems as though game publishers are looking to double down in light of these popular methods that undermine their existing age-check systems.
Chinese Publishers and Developers Vow to Self-Regulation
According to a report by Reuters, over 200 gaming companies in China officially pledge to self-regulate the Chinese gaming industry to remain compliant with China’s new gaming regulations and combat gaming addiction among minors. The pledge was published by the CGIGC gaming association, an affiliate of the National Press and Publication Association, an online game publishing regulator. Of the 213 companies that signed the statement, Tencent and NetEase stand out as the largest gaming publishers involved.
Initiatives that mentioned curbing gaming addiction include facial recognition software similar to software used by Tencent to prevent minors from creating accounts with fraudulent information. Right now, little else is known about how gaming publishers in China will actively patrol their games and enact punitive measures against violators.
The statement also neglects to mention how companies like NetEase may have contributed to minors circumventing China’s gaming regulations using tools that NetEase has developed and released for public use. UU Game Booster is a “network solution tool” released by NetEase that allows users to connect to servers in different regions while providing a stable connection to ensure smooth gameplay, according to the description on the app’s Google Play page.
While these countermeasures exist, NetEase and Tencent will likely crack down on whatever workarounds exist to provide minors with unapproved access to their games. Whether these companies will crack down on China’s smartphone arcades is unknown, but these spaces will likely find themselves slowly retreating further and further away from public visibility. As China’s gaming regulations are still quite recent, a lot of what’s happening in terms of enforcement is still at the development stage. However, Chinese gaming companies’ dedication to self-regulation can only be known based on their actions to ensure compliance with China’s gaming regulations.