[H]ardOCP: China Wants to Regulate Games to Combat Myopia

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[H]ardOCP: China Wants to Regulate Games to Combat Myopia

Those findings led the Chinese education ministry to recommend curbing approvals for new online video games, implementing an age ratings system and introducing restrictions on how much time minors are allowed to play games online.

The Chinese ministry of education released the new policy plans on Thursday after President Xi Jinping earlier this week called for greater national attention on optical health. The massive popularity of the game with young players had parents concerned, which led to the daily one-hour time restriction for players 12 and under, and a two-hour limit for those 12 to 18.

No specifics or timeframe were given.

The Chinese government is taking these measures in an effort to protect young people from increasing rates of myopia, or nearsightedness, according to Reuters. Excessive screen time and strict school study routines are often blamed.

About 600 million people in China, almost half the population, have myopia, or shortsightedness.

It estimated visual impairment issues cost China around $100 billion in 2012.

But visual concerns are just the latest reason given for an apparent campaign to put the brakes on wildly popular digital gaming. Previously, the list had been updated regularly. The General Administration of Press and Publication will do its part in limiting the increase in new online games releases and setting a time limit for juveniles' gaming.

Alicia Yap, an analyst with Citigroup, echoed the same opinion, saying the new rules will likely dent the gaming industry's growth outlook, but high-quality gaming developers like Tencent need not worry because they will find the way to repel impact.

Chinese media blamed the hold-up on personnel changes arising from Xi's consolidation of power at a Communist Party leadership meeting late a year ago, which has made him the most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. More so, China has also blocked Tencent's game called "Monster Hunter: World".

It's a huge development given the country's position as the world's biggest gaming market, and the new rules will make it even harder for developers to launch games in the region.

In August previous year, Tencent managed to paint a target on its back after teenagers became enamored with its hit mobile MOBA, Honor of Kings.

"The top game companies would continue to strengthen their positions, as they have more AAA games and more resources to support the game-approval process", it added.

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