China is banning children from online gaming for more than three hours a week, the harshest restriction so far on the game industry as Chinese regulators continue cracking down on the technology sector.
Minors in China can only do online gaming between 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, weekends and on public holidays starting Sept. 1, according to a notice from the National Press and Publication Administration. That limits gaming to three hours a week for most weeks of the year, down from a previous restriction set in 2019 that allowed minors to play games for an hour and a half per day and three hours on public holidays.
The new regulation affects some of China’s largest technology companies, including gaming giant Tencent, whose Honor of Kings online multiplayer game is hugely popular globally. Earlier this month, Tencent said it would limit gaming time for minors to an hour a day and two hours during holidays, as well as ban children under the age of 12 from making in-game purchases.
The company issued the curbs hours after a state-affiliated newspaper criticized the gaming industry and called games “spiritual opium.” Regulators said in Monday’s notice that they would strengthen supervision and increase the frequency of inspections of online game companies to ensure that they follow the regulations closely.
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