China cracks down on video games with strict playtime limits for kids

China has announced a new set of rules to restrict the amount of time minors spend playing video games each week. The new rules restrict children under 18 from playing video games for more than three hours a week. Those rules define three separate hour-long windows during which minors can play, with the Chinese government saying that the restrictions are necessary to curb gaming addiction.

The new rules were announced by the Xinhua state news agency in China (as reported by Reuters). Under the new rules, kids under 18 are allowed to play video games from 8 PM to 9 PM on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays. Beyond those hours, video games are not allowed, meaning no gaming during the week.

Previously, there were still restrictions on playtime in place, but they were significantly more lenient. Reuters reports that previous restrictions limited playtime to 1.5 hours each day and three hours on holidays. Those rules were first implemented in 2019, and now two years later, we're seeing restrictions that are much more severe being implemented.

According to Reuters, some reactions to these rules on Weibo expressed shock at how restrictive they are and doubt that the rules would be enforceable on a large scale. Tencent, the largest video game publisher in the world, is based in China and specializes in mobile games and online multiplayer games – the type of games that seem directly targeted by these new rules.

The restrictions handed down by the Chinese government don't seem to differentiate between platforms, and it sounds like gaming companies are going to be responsible for implementing things like time limits and anti-addiction systems. We'll see what kind of measures those game developers and publishers ultimately take, so stay tuned for more.