China Moves to Protect Young Online Gamers

Beginning August 1, online game operators in China will be forced to take a series of steps to protect online gamers under the age of 18 from inappropriate content and selling or buying items using virtual currency.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, online games created for minors will have to lose any content that would lead to “imitation of behavior that violates social morals and the law.” The regulations deal with content that is horrifying, cruel or otherwise unwholesome, specifically any portrayals of “pornography, cults, superstitions, gambling and violence.”

The virtual currency ban was said to be made possible by a new rule that online game players must register game accounts using their real name.

Gaming operators were also told to “develop techniques that would limit the gaming time of minors in order to prevent addiction, though without specifying what kinds of techniques and a permissible gaming time.”

Bloomberg reported that shares in Tencent Holdings Ltd., described as China’s largest Internet company in terms of market value, and a “leading provider of virtual currency services,” saw its shares fall as much as 5.3 percent after the new regulations were announced.

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