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New Ethics Panel in China Rejects Nine of 20 Games in First Review

Chinese regulators have reviewed 20 titles via a new ethics panel, of which nine were rejected for inappropriate content, the South China Morning Post reported Monday.

The ethics panel is a sign of progress for the Chinese gaming industry, as until this panel was instituted there was a freeze on approval of new titles for public consumption in place since March of this year.

The ethics committee, which is “under the guidance of the Communist Party’s propaganda department,” according to the South China Morning Post, found that the other 11 titles of the 20 still in need of some reworking to “eliminate moral hazard” according to the government-run news source Xinhua.

The freeze on approving games came amid a number of concerns in China regarding playing video games and the effect on health. Particularly for young children, there was a public health initiative which linked use of electronic devices and damaged eyesight. China’s Ministry of Education led the effort to decrease the amount of games approved to decrease rates of myopia, or nearsightedness, in children. The Ministry of Education also wanted to further increase restrictions on playtime for minors.

The highly popular game “Honour of Kings” (known as “Arena of Valor” stateside) even instituted facial recognition software to track minors’ playtime back in October. This effort by Tencent came amid falling stocks for the conglomerate, which lost $20 billion in market value in August. The regulatory game freeze impacted Tencent greatly, as it had to offer refunds for games stalled by the process. As a result, Tencent instituted its first restructuring last month, cutting its marketing budget in an effort to curtail spending.

Since the start of this year, Tencent has lost over $100 billion in market value, the South China Morning Post notes.

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