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Chinese Govt Limits Kids to 3hrs of Online Gaming 299

1MC writes "The Chinese govt is requiring game houses to modify MMOG's to restrict under 18 users to 3 hours "productive" gameplay per day. This "anti-addiction" software must be in place within 4 months, with games not compliant by July 15 liable to be shut down in China. Net9, Shanda and NetEase will be moving to comply with the government regulations. Users will have to register with their real names and Chinese identity card numbers to be allowed access to the games."
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Chinese Govt Limits Kids to 3hrs of Online Gaming

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  • I would imagine... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arkham6 ( 24514 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:40AM (#18675431)
    That kids getting caught faking identities to get around this would be dealt with harshly by the government.

    Parents (or kids?) going to jail because junior wanted to play WoW for more than 3 hours a day and faked ID?
  • China is repressive (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CogDissident ( 951207 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:41AM (#18675445)
    China is really repressive of their younger generation gaming online, primarilly because their dissident groups start up from these under 18 people being online. Stopping them from gaming as much will help disrupt bonds between the groups and cause slightly less anti-government behavior.

    Of course I think their system will collapse in a few years because of this anyway, but it is likely to stave off the inevitable for a little while at least.
  • Oh no! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HellYeahAutomaton ( 815542 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:43AM (#18675471)
    Looks like I'll have to look to India for my gold farming.

    Can't they just restrict their manufacturing to 3 hours a day too?

  • by beef curtains ( 792692 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:44AM (#18675493) that under-18 players could be restricted to certain servers, and the rest of us could play in peace, basking in the huge decrease in leetspeek, ninja looters, griefers & beggars.

    Seriously though, this whole "nanny state" the Chinese have going over there just cracks me up. I wonder if one can "bank" one's hours by not playing for a few days, in order to have enough time to join an end-game raid without worrying about one's big-brother software logging you off at an inopportune time.

  • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:57AM (#18675741)
    Users will have to register with their real names and Chinese identity card numbers to be allowed access to the games.

    THAT is the real reason. Register for this...soon register for ALL internet use.
    "We want to know who you are and where you go."
  • This is good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jalwin ( 1082419 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:04AM (#18675837)
    Due to the prevalence of these cafes and the ungodly amount of time younger kids WASTE here, hopefully these laws will encourage these kids to do other more productive things in their free time. Kids are not known to be responsible, especially on items good for their own welfare. I'm not saying a little wasted time is a bad thing, but spending so much time on these type of games can have a serious negative impact on the social life of the kids and their school grades. I know several people who have dropped out of college or have trouble holding jobs due to these addictions. Granted, I'm sure some kids will find ways to get around this (like alternate between cafes). But it is the hassle of doing so that will hopefully encourage kids to limit themselves.
  • by hahafaha ( 844574 ) * <> on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:22AM (#18676113)

    These sad souls need guidance, rehab, a life, something outside the warm cocoon of fat rolls and 3d dwarf landscapes.

    On the contrary, one ought to decide for himself if he wants to live in the ``cocoon of fat rolls and 3d dwarf landscapes.'' Through observation, it has been noticed that children of a certain age are unable to make this decision for themselves (though, I must say that 18 is far too old to be considered the time one becomes an adult. It should be 16, in my opinion), it is the duty of parents to make this decision. Never the government. I would much rather see my children spending 24 hours a day playing silly games than be regulated in those matters by the state.

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:23AM (#18676135) Homepage Journal
    and wake up now -

    if you BAR kids from doing something they REALLY like and WANT to do in their development stages, and instead FORCE them to do whatever society/you think right and should be done, what you do is going to come back to you as payback when kids reach adulthood and start to exhibit personality/psychological deviations.

    ANYTHING that is suppressed gets bigger and strikes back at a later date.

    this same trend was here in turkey aroun 15-20 years ago, all kids were put to the "career race", which was something that was seen as both good for the kids, and for the society. (hey, you make the kid race for ranking at the top in the national university entrance exams, which guarantees them a good education and then later a respectable, high salary job, what can be wrong with that)

    and 15 years later now, majority of those generations are experiencing personality quirks, antisocial behaviour, a degree of childish selfishness, (which leads to MANY marriages to breaking up), strike-back from stress that is accrued in 15 years of organizational education/racing, aimlessness in life and valueing/judging everything on merits of career/power/monetary values and not able to appreciate real values like love, compassion, friendship, family and so on. hell, there are so many stuff that i dont know if i can stop once i start.

    you, chinese are total morons for approving that, or forcing your kids to forfeit their present for their future, a future which never comes and constant sacrifice continues while trying to reach it.

    time spent NEVER comes back. NEVER EVER. at deathbed what people think are what they HAVE done, not what they MEANT to do.
  • Re:Oh no! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FirienFirien ( 857374 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:23AM (#18676141) Homepage
    Why cut a cheap producer? A country that imports goods from China (or whichever other cheap producer you care to name) is cutting costs in the same way that a company will outsource work that it considers cheaper to be elsewhere. The options to the worker are to do a better job or work more cheaply. Demanding a high pay for a job that someone else will do more cheaply (and with a better quality ratio than the cost ratio, in most cases) doesn't make financial sense.

    Supply, demand. Attempting to get closer back onto topic - if you create a minor economy that pays people who are willing to invest their time in it in their own major economy, then you're always going to get gold farmers, whether live or bot. If a job pays, it doesn't matter whether it's a computer 'game' or a more conventional job; people are willing to pay for it. The only way to counter it is to remove value from grinding, which is uninteresting to a lot of gamers. Even games like Puzzle Pirates - whose rankings are utterly dependent on personal skill, with no +items, with little effect from having $$$$$$$$) - have seen botting and farmers.

    Even still, it's not likely to be tied to this topic - people who are using children for farming (perhaps a mild form of, but still being, child labor) will be simply able to get around the limit. The reasoning behind this legislation then looks very much tied to concern about health - especially with the occasional person in the news dying from binge gaming. That's reinforced by the messages themselves; it's also closely supported with China's other health programmes, which look from the outside to be carried out very well - for example the dental education program, paid for by the government, going out to the remote rural areas as well as the urbs and suburbs; with such a large population to watch over, blanket health programs and legislation (preventing or reducing the damage to health, in gaming or dental or whatever) are really very good.
  • by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:29AM (#18676269) Homepage
    What about children without parents? Should there be a government policy for foster children?

    I think the distinction between "government" and "family" is actually a little artificial. In some sense, the family is the smallest unit of government, to which certain tasks are delegated. This is definitely the theory of many mid-century social theorists, including Althusser.
  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:32AM (#18676349) Journal
    Ok, I know I shouldn't feed the trolls, but...

    There was a time - back when I was actively playing a MMORPG (Final Fantasy XI) that I would have agreed with the idea that MMORPGs are addictive. However, my experiences over the last year or so have made me far less certain.

    I started playing FFXI in November 03, importing a copy from the US when it launched there. For the first couple of months, it was just a curiousity... something I logged into once in a while and ran around a bit. Then somebody else I knew in real life started playing. And then another. The amount of time I was putting into the game increased considerably, to the point where it was taking up well over 50% of my non-work time (I have what's essentially a 9-5 office-based job). I was going out less, particularly at the weekends, playing other games less and watching fewer movies (never complain about MMORPG monthly fees - you wouldn't believe how much money they save you). About the only other past-time that didn't suffer was reading.

    I got heavily into the game. I did the whole end-game thing, with all the grief and drama that went with it. I slogged through the Chains of Promathia expansion, which was exhausting, frustrating, and infuriating, but also responsible for some of the biggest adrenelin rushes I've ever had from gaming.

    At this point, if the addiction analogy were really true, the next stage of the story should write itself; losing contact with real life friends and family, locking myself away in a darkened room, losing my job, dying alone in poverty etc. Except... it didn't. Some time last summer, I noticed that I just didn't quite care about the game as much as I had in the past. Logging in felt more like a chore, the game itself rarely did much for me and I was losing interest in the community. Over the next few months, my play time dwindled rapidly. By Christmas, I was only logging in for a couple of hours a week for scheduled Limbus runs. By February, even that had stopped.

    There was no dramatic intervention. No moment when I realised I needed to go cold-turkey. In fact, I never did go cold turkey. I've still got the game installed and still pay $15 a month for my account. I just don't log into it, because I can't be bothered. It's not that I've moved onto another MMORPG. I have a WoW account, which I do log into occasionally, but I just don't find that game fun enough to grip me for long periods. Rather, I've more or less gone back to using my free time to do the things I did before FFXI came along. I'm not alone in this... the real life friends who got into FFXI shortly after I did followed a similar trajectory.

    Now, compare that to how a genuine addiction works. I've known lots of smokers. I've also known a guy who started smoking cannabis at 15 and who was dead of a heroin overdose at 23. I've never known a smoker just give up the habit because they found cigarettes just didn't do much for them any more. From what I've seen (and I've never smoked), giving up smoking is painful (emotionally and perhaps even physically) and requires a good chunk of will-power. When drug users find that their current drug of choice doesn't do much for them any more, the response seems to be to move onto something harder.

    MMORPGs have the effect on people they do for a number of reasons - interesting game worlds, clear goals of the kind that people lack in their real lives (this one is important), the ability to act out fantasies, a sense of worth from standing in a virtual community and so on. However, I can no longer believe that genuine addiction is one of the factors at work in most cases.
  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:35AM (#18676399)

    These sad souls need guidance, rehab, a life, something outside the warm cocoon of fat rolls and 3d dwarf landscapes.

    Without commenting on your arrogant assertion that you know how someone else should live their live, this rises up a rather interesting point: why does the Chinese government want children to spend their time in reality rather than virtual reality ? After all, people playing WoW are far less likely to demand freedom or engage in other activities antithethical to the Chinese political system than people spending their time speaking with each other and perhaps coming up with dangerous ideas lie freedom from censorship. Warm cocoon makes people drowsy, cold reality shocks them wide awake. The former makes it far easier for the Chinese government to stay in power than the latter.

    Is this a case of a tyrant starting to believe his own lies about his benevolence, or does the Chinese government just have absolute confidence in their iron fist ?

  • Re:Not so bad... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MeanderingMind ( 884641 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:14PM (#18677051) Homepage Journal
    If you have the internet at home in China, chances are your parents are realtively wealthy. They might be willing to sign the account off under their name, effectively bypassing the "under 18" restriction.
  • Other "Features"? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FuryG3 ( 113706 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:10PM (#18678025)
    I wonder what other features this software has. Are these Game-Houses typically internet cafes? If so are these computers also used for web browsing?

    Sure sure, I know China's already got the tap on these places. The sites these users visit (that aren't blocked), are probably logged for easy reviewing access. But it sure would be nice to tie browsing (and game-playing) history to one person, regardless as to what computer he sits at or cafe's he visits.

    Monitoring in-game chat would also be a "nice" feature.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:24PM (#18678303)
    I'm sorry but i hope to god it sticks and other countries adopt this rule. Video games are stunting lots of kids development physically.

    I know its extreme but I am fitness instructor, over the last decade, boys and girls alike have become naturally more and more lazier towards sport and fitness, I've been put in a position to get any reaction from kids these days to actually tone down the intensity of the exercises i teach because of this. Tell them to touch their tows, half of them will wont get past their knees. Tell them to do a lap of the school yard, they'll give you half the lap and dordle the rest.

    TV and Video Games are the reason why health and fitness of our young people is such a big problem.

    I know many "other" influences attribute to these things, diet etc. But parents are not aware how fragile their kids health really is these days, most parents see a "normal" looking kid, you take that kid outside and tell them to run around the yard, 9x out of 10 they will be so out of breath before they finish a 10 meter dash. I know not all kids are like this there are still plenty of athletic kids out there, but the AVG kid these days does not consider health as being an issue, these kids need to be steered into thinking that some level of athleticism is required.

    Although i don't believe GOVT shouldn be making such hasty calls in forcing children to not play video games as much, but lets look at it realistically, the AVG kids school day is about 6 hours + 3 hours for video games .. that 9 hours and I'm sure a couple hours of TV is in there, sheesh 10 odd hours of activities, plus they are supposed to do homework on school night .. I stick to this being a great idea, maybe letting them get away with weekends should be okay.

    Unplug the fricken xbox and tell the little brat to get down and give you 20 push ups. If they cant do that, grab the extra long xbox controller cable and show them how to use it as a jump rope.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal