China regulator to ‘earnestly study’ public concerns over draft video gaming rules

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s draft online video gaming rules were designed to promote the healthy development of the industry, regulators said on Saturday, adding that the government would further improve the proposed rules after “earnestly studying” public views.

The statement from the press and publications watchdog came a day after China released proposed sweeping rules aimed at curbing spending and time on video games, dealing a blow to the world’s biggest games market and knocking the value of Tencent Holdings, Netease and other gaming stocks.

Under the draft rules, online games will be banned from giving players rewards if they log in every day, if they spend on the game for the first time, or if they spend several times on the game consecutively.

All are common incentive mechanisms in online games.

The draft rules were “designed to safeguard and promote the healthy and prosperous development of the online gaming industry,” the National Press and Publication Administration said in a statement on its website.

The regulator said the government had collected opinions widely during the drafting process, and “soliciting public views for the rules is a process aimed at listening to opinions more broadly, and improving the provisions of the rules.”

Responding to anxiety over the proposed measures, the regulator said it will “earnestly study expressed concerns and views”, and will further amend the rules after absorbing opinions from related government bodies, companies and users.

To restrict excessive spending, the draft rules also require that games must set limits on how much players can top up their digital wallets for in-game spending. Games would also be banned from enabling the speculation and auction of virtual gaming items.

The administration is seeking public comment on the rules by Jan. 22, 2024.

(Reporting by Shanghai newsroom; Editing by David Holmes)