Controls readied to curb game addictions

   Date:2010/06/23     Source:

CHINA is piercing the anonymity of cyberspace to curb Internet game addiction among the young.

Starting August 1, the nation's 265 million players must register with their real identities, and game companies must install "anti-game addiction systems" to wean teenage players from over-dependence on online games, according to a regulators' document.

When the system is installed, teenagers will get only half their game experience points after three hours of consecutive play. They'll lose all their points or virtual weapons after five hours.

Game operators are to place players under 18 in the anti-addiction system and check registration information with police regularly to ensure the information is not fake, according to a source who declined to be identified.

Underage players will also be restricted in their ability to trade for game items and virtual money. Third-party trade Websites will be closed to those under 18; older players using those sites will have to register with ID numbers that correspond to bank accounts.

The online game management policy, issued by the Ministry of Culture, is China's first complete state-level policy for the 30 billion yuan (US$4.4 billion) industry.

"The protection of underage people is the focus because it has caused concern in society and among parents and teachers," said Liu Qiang, a senior official at the culture ministry. "Of course, we pay attention to it as industry regulator."

Game addiction has been blamed for harming many young people's health and study habits. Some of them have even left their families to indulge their obsession.

Industry authorities said they've already taken most of the steps required by the new regulations. But the new policy will make the regulations clearer and more powerful, boosting the industry in the long run, said officials from firms including Shanda Games, Giant and, China's biggest game item trading platform.

"We have taken such steps for almost a year and we will continue checking our user accounts in the future," said Zhang Peiao, vice president of

Under the policy, an online trading platform must check whether the related games have been approved by regulators, Zhang said.


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