From August 1, China’s online game companies will be required to take steps to protect the country’s young from “unwholesome and corrupting content,” according to new regulations issued by the Ministry of Culture earlier this week.
The regulations state that “unwholesome” content is forbidden, and that measures must be developed to keep minors away from inappropriate games.
According to the Xinhua News Agency, the regulations do not offer a definition of what constitutes “unwholesome” content, but pornography, cults, superstitions, gambling and violence are expressly prohibited in all online games.
In addition to content controls, the new regulations require companies to develop technologies to limit gaming time in order to prevent addiction.
Restrictions will also apply to virtual currencies. Minors will be prohibited from buying or selling items with virtual currencies. The regulations state that virtual currencies must be exclusively used to purchase the products or services of online games. Such restrictions will be enforced via new rules that require game players register with their real names.
The new regulations will have a substantial impact on the online gaming sector in China, which is currently estimated at $US3.8 billion.