What just happened? China recently introduced legislation that drastically limits the amount of time minors are allowed to spend in online games, while also requiring publishers to ensure compliance. Now, a group of 213 China-based gaming companies has pledged to follow these rules to the letter.
This conglomerate of companies, known as the CGIGC, issued their pledge in the form of a lengthy news post on the official CGIGC website. Since the post is in Chinese and Google Translate failed to convert it to English, we can't quote it word-for-word here. However, we were able to understand enough to summarize some of the core points here.
First and foremost, the CGIGC promises to work with the government in strengthening the "game anti-addiction work" that it has pursued in recent years. By establishing time limits and implementing "real-name certification," in addition to strengthened facial recognition tech, the CGIGC believes it will be able to weaken the hold video games have over China's youth.
The CGIGC also pledges to "resist undesirable content," including politically harmful, nihilistic, or "obscene" pornographic content. It will also avoid game mechanics and features that induce players to overspend and "indulge," which is a pretty big deal given the outrageous success of "gacha" mechanics, loot boxes, and other gambling-like microtransaction systems.
Despite their confident words, it remains to be seen whether or not China's gaming giants will be able to comply with the government's new industry-wide rules. If they do, we can be sure that the effects will be felt globally to some extent. Tencent is the largest video game publisher in the world, with stakes in many western companies, including Epic and League of Legends developer Riot Games, to name just a couple.
While we hope these rules will eventually fizzle out, that doesn't seem very likely for the time being. China is clearly committed to fighting what it views as a problematic video gaming epidemic: more and more young people are choosing to spend their time in the digital realm rather than the real world. The country probably won't stop its crusade until it achieves its goals.