In response to an apparent plague of video game addiction among young people, China has set strict limits on playing video games for people under 18 years old that restricts them to three hours a week. This builds upon much looser restrictions on gaming imposed in 2019 which allowed for an hour and a half each day and three hours on holidays.
In the short term, this move has severe implications for video game companies, which are losing out on a huge market. According to The Epoch Times, “62.5 percent of Chinese minors often play games online, and 13.2 percent of underage mobile game users play mobile games for more than two hours a day on working days.” Losing this many users in one sweep has caused big companies like Tencent, Ubisoft, and Embracer to take losses after the announcement, with more to come.
In the long term though, the move brings up an important discussion, particularly among Catholics and conservatives, on striking an acceptable balance between the common good and individual freedom. Whatever might happen to the Chinese market for video games, the government is clearly trying to change individual behavior, limiting its young people’s freedom in the first place.