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Last month the Chinese Government instituted a new law that limited the amount of time and money that anyone under the age of 18 could spend on video games. The new law restricts the amount of time anyone under the age of 18 can play games to 90 minutes of game time per day on the weekdays. On weekends that time allotment is increased to 180 minutes. There’s also a strict no-gaming curfew between the hours of 10pm and 8am. Furthermore, if you’re under the age of 17 you’re limited to spending no more than the equivalent of $29 on downloadable content. That amount is doubled if you’re of the age 17 or 18.
The Chinese Government is going a step further now and asking arcades and internet cafes to ban minors from entrance unless it’s a school holiday. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said in a statement on it’s website on Wednesday, “(This will) promote the healthy development of the industry and meet the growing needs of the people for a better life,”. This is a continued trend in the Chinese Government to combat what China describes as “poor academic performance across a broad swath of society.”
The biggest concern I have over the ongoing saga of the Chinese Government and their crusade against video games is the health of their esports scene. These recent months aren’t even the start of the Chinese Governments crusade against video games. For the better part of a year they had put a complete freeze on any new titles coming to China. With the esports industry booming and set to expand further and faster, this could cripple the Chinese player base for generations to come. Look no further than League of Legends Worlds were the ‘skill gap’ between western and eastern teams is brought up every year as to why North American teams can’t seem to make it out of group stages. Some argue it’s because the eastern markets, specifically South Korea, have 15 years of development on the rest of the world. Imagine now what the next 15 years of Chinese esports looks like if the rest of the world is practicing and streaming their games for 6-10 hours a day and the most your players get is 13 hours a week. The 2018 Shanghai Dragons may have been foreshadowing the future of Chinese esports.