China cutting videogame approvals to protect children’s eyesight

"E3 2018 games Fortnite"

China wants to tighten its restrictions on the number of videogames that it approves due to a rise in an eye condition called myopia. Through the Chinese state-run news outlet, Xinhuanet, the Chinese president Xi Jinping stressed that the reasons behind these measures were to “protect the children’s eyes.”

This is a reference to the rise of short sightedness in Chinese teenagers and children, which can occur when children are missing out on exposure to natural light. Although it’s not clear how people become short sighted, there have been studies that link it to focusing your eyes on nearby objects like computer screens, tablets, and phones.

The Ministry of Education went into more detail regarding the restrictions. It will involve tighter regulations on the total number of online games, controlling the amount of new game releases into the country, looking into harsher age-rating systems, and creating a maximum time limit that minors can play.

The Chinese government is planning on implementing this myopia prevention programme in the “near future.” This announcement is inevitably linked to China’s recent freeze on videogame license approvals after concerns of videogame violence and gambling arose.

As a direct cause of this, the largest videogame company in the world, Tencent, saw its share price drop by 5% in a day, which is a major hit. The titan of a company, which owns part of Epic Games (Fornite) and is the parent company of Riot Games (League of Legends), took another big blow recently from the Chinese government.

Tencent was also forced to remove Monster Hunter: World from its Chinese distribution platform, WeGame – Tencent’s version of Steam – after its contents did not meet regulatory requirements. WeGames official statement also mentioned that the game received a “large number of complaints”. Just can’t get a break, huh?