Home China removes top official amid video game rules outcry

China removes top official amid video game rules outcry

The Chinese government has removed press and publications regulator head Feng Shixn over announced video game regulations that hit the country’s leading tech stocks, reports Reuters. The Chinese gaming industry is the largest in the world and includes industry behemoth Tencent Holdings.

The uncertainty stemming from the proposed changes caused nearly $80 billion of value to be lost in the sector, mostly from China’s two largest gaming companies, Tencent and Netease.

The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA)’s proposed regulations, announced by Feng, caused fears among investors that further strict regulations could be coming and reminded them of crackdowns in the recent past.

There have been ongoing efforts in China to regulate its massive video game industry since 2021, alongside other industries. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has introduced limitations on gaming time for under-18s, and amid concerns over gaming addiction, suspended the approval of new games for around eight months. These actions caused the Chinese gaming industry to shrink for the first time.

After this backlash, the NPPA said it would “earnestly study” public views on the issue. State broadcaster CCTV reported that the government is listening to the “concerns and opinions raised by all parties”, adding that “the State Press and Publication Administration will study them carefully and further revise and improve them”, referring to the media regulator.

What were the proposed video game laws in China?

The CCP remains committed to regulating the time and money spent on games, particularly by children. The draft regulation that caused this uproar included bans on several mechanics that are very popular in online games; daily login rewards, bonuses for first-time spenders, and bonuses for consecutive spenders. In the highly competitive world of online gaming, users would be sure to look to other games that provide these rewards.

The draft also bans randomized draws being offered to minors (this would include gacha-style mechanics such as Genshin Impact and Honkai Star Rail), and from allowing the auctioning of virtual in-game items. In addition, it seeks to limit digital wallet top-ups and spending.

Featured image credit: Pexels/ Manuel Joseph

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Ali Rees
Tech journalist

Ali Rees is a freelance writer based in the UK. They have worked as a data and analytics consultant, a software tester, and a digital marketing and SEO specialist. They have been a keen gamer and tech enthusiast since their childhood in are currently the Gaming and Tech editor at Brig Newspaper. They also have a Substack where they review short video games. During the pandemic, Ali turned their hand to live streaming and is a fan of Twitch. When not writing, Ali enjoys playing video and board games, live music, and reading. They have two cats and both of…

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