Game addiction is a serious problem in China, and it’s considered a particular problem among the nation’s youth, who can severely damage their future earning potential if they get too into a video game when they ought to be studying for China’s all-important, once-a-year college entrance exam. To combat this, Chinese authorities required Chinese online games to implement systems aimed at preventing young players from getting addicted.
The methods used to achieve this vary by game, but they can be pretty harsh. For example, in one popular browser game, underage players (all players must register using their real identity numbers, so theoretically there’s no faking your age) will get a warning if they play for three hours without taking a rest, and if they still refuse to quit, their in-game XP and gold gets cut in half. Sounds pretty effective, right?
Apparently not. A report presented during this year’s “two meetings”, China’s brief annual legislative meetings, by China Youth Net investigated 887 games, and found that anti-addiction systems had only been “perfected” in 234 of them, or about 26%. Needless to say, it’s clear that at the moment, Chinese game companies aren’t doing a great job of implementing these systems (and no wonder, considering young players hate them).
Whether or not this report will result in any actual change is difficult to say. It has certainly stirred up some attention, and game addiction is always a hot-button issue in China, but China’s legislative body is primarily a rubber-stamp congress, and the “two meetings” is often used as a time for representatives to make lofty pronouncements that never end up getting implemented.
Plus, of course, there’s the question of whether or not it’s possible to design an effective anti-addiction gaming system, and whether it’s possible to get all of China’s game developers to play along rather than dragging their feet. Everyone agrees that game addiction is a bad thing, but when it comes to how to solve it, nobody’s on the same page, and game developers are likely to be especially hesitant if the “solution” entails antagonizing China’s youth, who are often their primary player base.
(via Netease Games)