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China imposes online gaming restrictions

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 25 Aug 2005 3:03 User comments (9)

China is soon going to be imposing limits on how much time gamers spend playing online video games. The controls that the government in Beijing will be introducing are aimed at deterring gamers from playing for longer than three hours straight. The government says it has the gamers' health in mend with the new controls that are aimed mostly at online role-playing games like World of Warcraft. Twenty million gamers play regularly in China, mainly in Internet Cafes.
Gamers in China spent nearly US$500 million on games last year. The government has encouraged the growth of gaming online and is hosting a two day conference in Beijing hoping to attract more foreign investment. However, the popularity of the games is growing so rapidly that it has led to concerns that some people may be getting too caught up in these game. In one case that's used as a tragic example, a player killed a fellow player for stealing a virtual sword. He later received a suspended death sentence.

New measures are now expected to be introduced in October. The new system will impose penalties on players who spend more than three hours at a game. The abilities of the gamers' characters will be reduced past the three hour limit. After five hours the abilities of the character will become severely Llimited. Also players are forced to take a break of at least five hours before they can return and play a game.

"The timing mechanism can prevent young people from becoming addicted to online games," said Xiaowei Kou, of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), the body which regulates online gaming. All the biggest game operators in the country said they will implement the system and they are prepared to sacrifice short term revenues or the sake of the gamers' health. The operators have little choice anyway as they need government approval to offer online gaming.

Source:
BBC News

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9 user comments

125.8.2005 7:45

talk about the country being in your machine... WOW thats about all anyone can say think of the implacations its alright to work on the computer but playing is a no-no again WOW thats what you get for living in a comunist country ... no freedom... I work as a computer repair tech in a school having to repair stuff all day and when I get home I want to unwind so killing a few hundred this and thats is a way of cooling down so now if this works everyone is goingto loss the allnighter sad for the people in China.

225.8.2005 11:42

I think this might actually be necessary. I mean, we're talking about public hysteria here. This is a government reaction to an existing situation that requires immediate attention. Did you hear about the guy in Asia who did this online gaming marathon of several days? He finally finished his game just to die of a heart attack or something. And killing a guy for stealing his gear in the game? I know these incidents are few and far between, but come on now. Read a book. Feed some pidgeons. Take a nap, at least! Geez This would be unnecessary in USA or the UK, but from what I have read, there are some way-too-serious online gamers in other parts of the world. This move is obviously not for control or financial gain. Quite the opposite, it appears to be solely in the interest of public health and well-being. They would actually make more money by letting them keep playing

325.8.2005 12:11

Um... this is quite scary. Time to upgrade the good ol' tin foil hat once again. Thank god I don't live in China. Although I don't even play online games. But come to think of it, just like squidge37, this really is necessary, atleast in Asia. For example when japanese become fond of something, then they come really obsessed with it. This one guy (he was Korean, but anyway) played starcraft for 50 hours (if I remember correctly) straight, almost without eating and drinking until he collapsed on the netcafe floor, dead. This system would have saved his life. Here's few links if you´re interested Two died playing diablo 2: http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/01/13/1041990221661.html?oneclick=true Death after 20hrs non-stop of Saga: http://www.engadget.com/entry/7547778344487534/ Suicide, everquest blamed: http://boren.nu/archives/2002/04/02/death-of-a-game-addict/ Suicide, again everquest: http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/11/21/virtual_suicide/ Dad played everquest, child dies: http://www.avault.com/news/displaynews.asp?story=132001-15200 Both parents played everquest, daughter dies: http://www.cadenhead.org/workbench/news/1372/child-dies-while-parent-plays-everquest I think I made myself clear. Over and out.

425.8.2005 19:31
Earlacey
Inactive

Huh, I find myself oddly not in opposition of what they are trying to do. In a strange way it sounds like genuine concern to a problem. Have most of us killed anyone over a game, of course not, but have all of us spent more time than we should have, to get to that next level, of finish an instance or whatever? Sure have, before I broke WoW's crack-like grip over my life, I lost a lot of sleep, went to work in a haze, put things on hold for too long. I mean their government isn't blaming WoW or Blizzard or saying that any type of gaming is bad or evil. They are just saying take a freaking break. Of all the would be restrictions I have heard of groups attempting this actually seems somewhat reasonable. Egad! Did I just say all that?! I must be getting too old.

528.8.2005 10:48

I'm amazed that Bush hasn't invaded China for an abuse of civil liberties, oh, hang on, he wants to stop people enjoying themselves (how much oil is in China? LOL!). I'm amazed America doesn't do the same, or the British government for that matter. What with us living in a nanny state.

629.8.2005 4:15

That sucks that a fellow player died from stealing the other guy's virtual sword. I hope they don't have MySpace there, I can see someone killing a guy for deleting him. Restricting online play to three hours is, in a sense, a good idea. At least that's what I think. After reading those other cases, I don't blame them for enforcing the three hour limit. And it wouldn't be a bad idea if America has this sort of thing goin' on. But, of course, civil rights and numerous things would get in the way I suppose.

729.8.2005 4:30

I can't believe any of you are even THINKING of supporting this! This is the worst suppression of civil liberties, in a civilised country, that I have come across in recent times. Taking a break from your computer is one thing, but being FORCED to do so is quite another. I'm sick of people looking at the possible end result of a band-aid solution like this, and thinking that it justifies the means. And I'm sick of governments and civil groups making decisions like this -- which affect people who haven't done anything wrong -- based on a few isolated incidents. Some people just are f*%ked up, period.

829.8.2005 14:28

""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" "I can't believe any of you are even THINKING of supporting this! This is the worst suppression of civil liberties, in a civilised country, that I have come across in recent times. Taking a break from your computer is one thing, but being FORCED to do so is quite another. I'm sick of people looking at the possible end result of a band-aid solution like this, and thinking that it justifies the means. And I'm sick of governments and civil groups making decisions like this -- which affect people who haven't done anything wrong -- based on a few isolated incidents. Some people just are f*%ked up, period."""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" Abso-fkin-lutely!!!!!!!!!!

929.8.2005 23:51

Hey I don't support it, I just think it would be a good idea (for Americans anyways). Of course, having the government decide on how many hours a gamer can play online is rather ridiculous having those small number of cases. If it became a widespread epidemic then that's another thing.

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