Asia responds to the dangers of online gaming

Gaming in Asia is about to come under close scrutiny yet again, following the death of a 30-year old Chinese man following a marathon gaming binge in a Beijing internet cafe. The man did not sleep and “hardly ate” for three days, before losing consciousness at the keyboard. Despite being rushed to a nearby medical clinic, the man could not be revived.

The man has not been identified, but allegedly spent more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,500) on gaming in the month before he died. It’s very similar to a 2005 case where a 28-year old South Korean gamer died after playing non-stop for 50 hours.

Chinese Internet - Tim Yang

Chinese intenet users

“Tens of millions” of Chinese people are addicted to internet gaming, according to recent research, many of them teenagers and young adults. This is despite the authorities putting measures in place to try and tackle the problem.

Online addiction is also a problem in nearby Vietnam, where the government has decided to take a fairly drastic stand on the matter. As of March 3rd, the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communication has asked internet providers to block access to online gaming between the hours of 10pm and 8am daily.

And the government wants to ensure that ISPs follow the rules, as the ministry’s Deputy Minister, Le Nam Thang explains via [surl=http://en.www.info.vn/hi-tech/it-and-internet/19938-late-night-game-parlours-to-be-banned-after-10pm-.html]Info.VN[/surl]:

“Provincial departments of information and communication will inspect on-line games activities nationwide and deal with organisations that violate regulations by cancelling their services.”

Thang also explains that the government’s aim is to improve internet management so that it will meet “the demand for information” and ensure internet safety, but not impacting negatively on the “lifestyle and customs” of young people.

Vietnamese gaming cafe - Kent Goldman

Typical Vietnamese gaming cafe

The ban is designed to prevent Vietnamese youth spending hours each night in online gaming parlours (where it costs US$0.15 per hour of gaming), but some Vietnamese service providers object to the new regime, explaining that this policy punishes their adult customers. It will potentially create difficulties when it comes to maintenance on the online games.

The Vietnamese government are set to revise the new rules later this year, to judge its effectiveness and make any necessary improvements.

Image source: Tim Yang, Kent Goldman


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