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It’s getting dangerously close to “game over” for some players in China: If you’re under 18 and a fan of video games, you’re now limited to just three hours of play a week.
In an effort to curb video game addiction among children, China’s National Press and Publication Administration is tightening the reins on just how much that online gaming companies are allowed to offer young users, the nation’s news agency Xinhua reported Monday.
Under the new mandates, companies are barred from offering their services to children outside a small window of time: Those under 18 can access online games only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and only between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., according to the report. Minors are also allowed to play during the same time on national holidays.
The new rules also state that companies must make sure that players are using their real names to sign on and must prevent individuals who don’t use their true identity from logging on anyway, Xinhua reports, likely as a way to ensure compliance with the new restrictions.
It’s not the first time that China has approved measures to restrict gaming among kids and teens. In 2019, new rules dictated that minors play online games only for a maximum of 90 minutes per day, and they were not allowed to play at all between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. Real names and phone numbers were required then too.
The 2019 measures also limited the monthly amount that minors could spend on microtransactions, with the maximum amount ranging from $28 to $57, depending on the child’s age. Not a bad idea, if you ask some: Microtransactions, which allow gaming companies to make money even on free games by offering or sometimes requiring in-game purchases, are a common source of headaches among gamers.