Last week, China introduced new rules for online games and mobile apps to help children and adolescents, which comes as no surprise since the country has been cracking down on internet use by children and adolescents. As you can imagine, online games and mobile apps were somewhat worried about the new rules, especially the ones that involve children and adolescents. Fortunately, the new rules seem to be somewhat lenient, but it will take some time for some Chinese game developers to adapt to the new rules.
If you’re a game creator, especially if you’re developing games on mobile, you likely know about China’s new gaming regulations. They’re making it more difficult for developers to release games on the Chinese market. Instead of publishing their games for free on Chinese app stores, developers are now required to pay for the privilege of having their games displayed there. This means venture capital-backed companies are now paying for the right to advertise their games, which opens up the door to more competition for developers. If you’re a game creator who’s already hit the market in China, this might mean you’ll have to scramble to figure out how to survive this new era.
The Chinese industry has been expanding at an insane pace, but the government is now taking measures to get control. The new regulations are meant to control the market, but are also seen as slowing the rapid growth of the industry.
We reported at the end of August that China was moving through with its plan to impose strict restrictions on minors’ gaming time, essentially ensuring that young gamers may only play games between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m. on weekends and public holidays. Tencent’s Honor of Kings — known on this side of the Pacific as Arena of Valor – collapsed this weekend precisely at the magic hour, indicating that the shift has already created a snag in at least one game.
The report comes from Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad, who points out that this was the first weekend after the restrictions went into effect. Honor of Kings seems to have been caught off guard by the storm, but businesses will need to catch up quickly.
“On Saturday, September 4, the servers for Honor of Kings, China’s most popular mobile game, crashed. While no particular explanation was provided, the crash was most likely caused by a rush of younger gamers coming on between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m., as per the newly implemented rules. Minors are only allowed to play online games between the hours of 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, according to the new rules. (For further information, see the section below.) On Weibo, the Saturday accident was a hot subject, and individuals experienced problems on Sunday as well.”
Of course, if capitalism has anything to say about it, the wealthiest individuals will simply find ways to circumvent the rules – and it appears that this is already happening, as e-commerce websites are offering rental accounts for the equivalent of $2.50, all as part of a “gray market for adult gaming accounts.”
China’s new kid gaming time regulations are already causing industry trainwrecks. Last week, the government announced a new policy that would limit children to a single hour of gaming a day. The announcement came with the standard boilerplate language — “to better protect children from being addicted to electronic games” — but it has been met with a surprising amount of opposition from parents and industry leaders.. Read more about china bans video games under 18 and let us know what you think.
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