China claims gaming addiction in minors has been “resolved”

On Tuesday the state-aligned committee on video games released a report claiming that China has resolved “gaming addiction” for minors.

Chinese authorities put up regulations in August of 2021 including a curfew that limited children to one hour of gaming on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. At the time, Beijing called video games “spiritual opium.” (Read: China tightens limits for minors playing online games)

The new report by the state-aligned China Game Publishers Association Publications Committee (GPC) indicated that the country may be willing to back down from these strict regulations. It noted that 75 percent of minors played less than three hours a week.

According to Reuters, big game publishers in China were also praised for their efforts to combat gaming addiction by suppressing minors’ time spent gaming. Companies, such as Tencent, have used technologies as invasive as face recognition to keep minors from indulging in long gaming sessions.

The report came just a week after Chinese state media People’s Daily reportedly wrote an editorial that framed gaming as another aspect of China’s approach on the world stage. The editorial—titled “Deeply exploring the value of the electronic games industry is an opportunity we can’t miss”—argued that China should do the same as the European Union, which has given video games “extremely high economic, technological, cultural and even strategic value.”

The timing of the editorial and the report seem to indicate that China is looking more at video games to help promote its culture and exert its soft power.

It could also be an olive branch extended to video game companies that may be looking to invest in the country. Both Sony and Microsoft are looking to incubate more Chinese-made games. The former plans to invest over $140,000 into each developer that comes their way.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Microsoft is planning to build a team to scout more China-made games. The company had previously approached Hoyoverse with an eye to bringing Genshin Impact to Xbox, but the deal fell through, with the game appearing on PlayStation instead.

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