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Spiritual Opium? China to Ban Minors from Gaming from Monday to Thursday 

Well, good thing it’s Friday? 
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Gaming is the new “spiritual opium,” according to the Chinese government, and it won’t stop until the modern-day opium trade is suppressed. China recently announced its plans to ban all minors from playing video games from Monday to Thursday. The only time kids can actually game? From Fridays to Sundays, but only for one hour each day. There’s even a nationwide schedule for gaming: 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oh, and they get an extra hour on holidays, too. 

So the government decreed. 

The new rules are part of Beijing’s move to cultivate its youth. The fiercely nationalistic nation has always had a strict vision of what its citizens should be and do, and gaming clearly isn’t part of the equation. Just a month ago, the state-backed paper Economic Information Daily called out gaming as detrimental to the youth. The story caught the attention of gamers, investors, and tech companies who saw the article as a foreboding of the state coming after the gaming industry. They guessed right. 

China is currently in the middle of a major capitalist crackdown, with Beijing coming after billion-dollar tech giants. Titans like Tencent and Alibaba, and even Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma, had to bow before the state when they came after them for issues over regulation. The new gaming policies are just a part of China’s greater tech crackdown that’s partially about control, national security, anti-addiction, and curbing “toxic” Internet culture.

The Chinese gaming market is expected to rake in $45.6 billion in 2021 alone, making it the biggest gaming market in the world. Not only is it the biggest in terms of money, it’s also the biggest in terms of players. According to Statista, China is home to the most number of gamers who spend over six hours per week playing video games. In a survey by Statista, 26 percent of respondents spent six to 10 hours gaming per week, while another 26 percent spent over 10 hours gaming per week. Of course, the survey refers to those aged over 18, so even with the new gaming ban, China will still be the top gaming hub in the world. 

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Infographic: 50% of Chinese Play More Than 6 Hours Per Week | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

But just how well will the ban work? Tencent is currently working with the state to find a way to limit screen time of minors, but then again, can’t kids just still play on their parents’ accounts? 

What do you think of the gaming ban? Tell us in the comments below. 

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Anri Ichimura
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