Beijing orders industry to “break” from pursuit of profit

The video game giants have been in the sights of the Chinese government for several months. The latter wants to fight against addiction with a lot of severe restrictions for players and companies.

China’s video game industry should not be profit-driven at all costs but do more to tackle the addiction of younger people, regulators have urged as Beijing tightens regulation of a very lucrative field.

Video games represent an important financial windfall in China: they generated 17 billion euros in turnover in the first half of 2021 alone. Some Chinese children can spend entire days glued to their screens.

But this phenomenon is increasingly criticized in the country for its harmful effects: loss of vision, impact on school results, lack of physical activity or risk of addiction. Chinese regulators summoned industry giants, including companies Tencent and NetEase, on Wednesday.

They were urged to “break away from the sole objective of making a profit. […] and change the rules of games that can create addiction, ”the official China New News Agency reported.

Industry giants have also been asked to “strictly enforce” under-18 playing time regulations, according to New China.

To fight against youth addiction, Beijing imposed at the end of August that minors can only play online three hours a week maximum. And only on weekends, public holidays and during school holidays, at the rate of one hour per day.

“Convey a more masculine image”

“Obscene and violent content [dans les jeux vidéo], as well as those which promote unhealthy tendencies, such as the cult of money and effeminacy, must be suppressed, “further urged regulators, quoted by New China.

Communist power had already banned certain reality TV programs last week and ordered broadcasters to “convey a more masculine image of men”. Faced with a drop in the birth rate in the country, Beijing criticizes the effeminate look of some celebrities.

These measures made unscrew this Thursday, September 9 the main names of the sector. Tencent shares lost 8.48% on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at the close. Its competitor NetEase gave it 11% and the Bilibili site, popular with fans of cartoons, manga and video games, dropped nearly 9%.

Victoria Beurnez with AFP

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