Web users in China will have to register their names before playing games online as part of the nation’s first official set of rules governing the booming market, state media said Wednesday.
The regulations, which also require online game companies to self-censor, will come into force on August 1 and apply to all domestic and imported role-playing and social networking games, the official China Daily said.
The measures, launched by the Ministry of Culture, aim to curb soaring rates of Internet addiction in China, particularly among minors.
China’s online games sector is booming thanks to the growth of the nation’s web community, now the largest in the world. Cheap computer products and relatively inexpensive Internet access have also fuelled the trend.
Response from China’s Ministry of Culture on internet gaming regulations
The country’s Ministry of Culture (MOC) has meted out a tentative regulation on the administration of online games, stipulating that online game players should register their real names before participating in virtual competitions in cyberspace.
The regulation, which is the first official document focusing on China’s thriving online gaming industry, will become effective on Aug 1. It applies to all domestic and imported multiplayer role-playing games as well as social networking games.
The measure came after the number of China’s online game players skyrocketed to 105 million as of April, according to a report released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the State Internet administrator. Internet users who want to play a particular online game must go though a real-name registration process with valid identifications, the regulation said.
The MOC specified the duties of the online game regulators and the procedures for screening imported online games. It also required online game companies to establish a self-censorship mechanism and ensure the lawfulness of the content of their games and the corporate operations.
Preventing minors from becoming addicted to online games is highlighted in the regulation, which forbids online game providers from offering unsuitable games to minors. Also, minors are not allowed to handle virtual currency.
Moreover, the regulation bans compulsory confrontations among the players set by the game administrators, a common practice to spice up the games’ magnetism. Also, the regulation bans pop-up advertising maneuvers popularly used to intrigue netizens and lure them to the games.
For the players, the regulation actually brings almost no more bother than before, except the real-name registration. Some players said they do not worry about the new regulations. Some said they have already become fed up with online games, and others said they agree with the regulations to prevent minors from becoming addicted to the computer games.