Report: Further restrictions could hit online games in China

Report: Further restrictions could hit online games in China

Video games in China could be subject to even tougher restrictions in the near future.

As reported by the South China Morning Post, the country's internet regulator – the Cyberspace Administration of China – is proposing that all online services in the region have a "youth mode". This would include video games, streaming platforms and social media.

What this means in practice is that internet providers would be required to enforce limits on how much time those under the age of 18 spend on these kinds of services. Hardware manufacturers would also be required to have software limiting how much time minors can spend on their products. 

Feedback for this draft legislation closes on April 13th. 

This is the latest move in something of a moral panic within China about the impact of tech and games on young people. Last year, a state-controlled newspaper called video games "spiritual opium". That was before tighter restrictions were proposed, including limitations on how much time minors could spend playing games.

Over 200 companies in the region signed a commitment to self-regulate in this regard.

Furthermore, the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) has introduced stricter regulations about what content can be allowed in video games in China for them to be released. This has led to another releases holdup and has resulted in huge numbers of games companies going out of business.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.