At the end of last month, Chinese regulatory authorities issued a notice calling for the strengthening of measures to prevent minors from spending too much time playing games. Many Chinese gaming companies have responded quickly.
According to statistics by China’s Game Publishing Committee, as of September 7, 64 enterprises have issued announcements to show their positive response to the new regulations. In addition, many enterprises have also for the first time disclosed data related to minors using their services in this year’s semi-annual reports.
Tencent’s Q2 financial report shows that individuals under 16 years old account for 2.6% of players, while those under 12 account for just 0.3%.
NetEase predicts that the impact of the new regulations on finance will not exceed a 1% hit.
Bilibili also claimed that minors accounted for only about 1% of its latest game revenue this year.
According to the financial report for Zhejiang Century Huatong Group, an Internet games developer, in the first half of the year, registered users under the age of 18 using Shengqu Games accounted for 0.9%, recharges from this group accounted for a miniscule 0.009%, and the total flow accounted for less than 0.01%.
Another mobile games developer 37Games mentioned during an investor research activity that the proportion of minors’ recharge flow in the domestic market is less than 0.05%.
Although video game publisher Perfect World did not disclose specific data, it emphasized in its financial report that income from minors using its products accounted for a very low proportion of total income.
In addition, income from minors for G‑bits, X.D. Network, iDreamSky and other Chinese gaming companies accounted for less than 1%, and even less than 0.1% for CMGE Technology, Kaiser, Shanghai Yaoji Tech and YOOZOO Games.
While game products have upgraded anti-addiction systems and further implemented the protection of minors, online games can still be played without restriction by renting and buying accounts. The rental and sale of game accounts to skirt recent regulations has formed a grey industry chain.
Tencent told National Business Daily: “Renting and selling accounts has seriously damaged the real-name registration system of games and the protection measures for minors, and some illegal platforms even provide other technical means to bypass the restrictions. Since Tencent launched its growth guard platform and health system in 2017, we have carried out continuous rights protection work against third-party platforms engaged in account rental and sales in violation of regulations. Up to now, more than 20 account trading platforms and several e-commerce platforms have been sued or sent letters by us requesting to stop related services.”
At the same time, Tencent also called for the introduction of corresponding laws and regulations as soon as possible to strictly control the renting and selling of game accounts.
On August 30, China’s National Press and Publication Administration issued a “Notice on Further Strict Management and Practically Preventing Minors from Indulging in Online Games,” requiring all online gaming enterprises to only provide one-hour services to minors from 20:00 to 21:00 on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, and strictly limiting the time for minors to play online games.
Regulators contend that the protection of minors is the common responsibility of the whole society. It is difficult to solve the fundamental problem for one company or notice alone. It needs the joint efforts of the government, enterprises, schools and parents.