You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

China Wants to Combat Nearsightedness With Fewer Game Approvals

China’s Ministry of Education believes the increase in gaming and internet use among minors could lead to higher rates of myopia, or nearsightedness, and it’s laid out plans to address the problem, according to market researcher Niko Partners.

The organization put out a notice on Thursday calling for limits to the number of new online games approved for distribution in the country. Over 8,500 were accepted in 2017, Niko said. Mobile games accounted for 8,202 of those approvals, while 37% were for poker and mahjong titles. Because of this, Niko thinks the Ministry of Education’s new regulations probably won’t impact PC and console games, or even core esports and mobile RPG titles.

“There are far fewer of such games in the market and in development, and the leading game companies will try to prioritize these money-making categories,” Niko said.

If the Ministry of Education does limit game licenses, smaller developers with only a few potential hits could suffer the most, Niko said.

“The top game companies would continue to strengthen their positions, as they have more AAA games and more resources to support the game-approval process,” it added. “The export game market is more competitive, so more middle and small companies could go under if their game is not approved for domestic distribution.”

But Niko also points out that there are currently thousands of games on the market, and fewer licenses could help smaller ones get noticed.

The Ministry of Education also said on Thursday that it wants to strengthen current regulations limiting the amount of time minors can play games online and investigate implementing an age-ratings system. China doesn’t have a ratings board like the Entertainment Software Rating Board in North America or Pan European Game Information in Europe. There is a color-based system, but it’s not enforced. Establishing an official ratings board would ensure minors have access to healthy content, according to the ministry.

If all of these recommendations are implemented, the Ministry of Education believes they can reduce myopia rates among children and adolescents nationwide by more than 5% each year through 2023.

The ministry’s recommendations are already having an impact on China’s largest gaming and social media company, Tencent. Its market value reportedly dropped by around $20 billion on Friday, according to Reuters. Shares fell by as much as 5.4%, closing at 4.9%. Tencent has reportedly lost more than $160 billion in market value due to regulatory concerns. It recently blamed a freeze on new game approvals for its first quarterly profit loss in nearly 13 years.

Popular on Variety

More Gaming

  • Nintendo Switch

    Nintendo Switch Unit Sales Top 15 Million in North America Since Launch

    Nintendo is tooting its own horn, boasting that the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite systems have together sold over 15 million units in North America to date. That’s according to the company’s own internal data. As of July, the Nintendo Switch had sold over 36 million consoles worldwide, the company said. Nintendo Switch carries [...]

  • Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

    'Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order': Respawn CEO on Telling the Story Behind 'Becoming a Jedi'

    When it comes to media properties, it doesn’t get much bigger than “Star Wars.” That sentiment certainly isn’t lost on Vince Zampella, CEO of Respawn Entertainment, the studio behind “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.” The title, which follows Jedi Padawan Cal Kestis (voiced by Cameron Monaghan) after the events of “Episode III — Revenge of [...]

  • Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order

    'Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order': What to Expect From EA and Respawn's Latest

    There’s a lot riding on “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.” The upcoming title from EA and Respawn is the first major single-player “Star Wars” video game since 2008’s “The Force Unleashed,” and is one of the most anticipated games of 2019. After years of multiplayer adventures, could “Fallen Order” be the title that brings the [...]

  • Google Stadia Game Streaming Service Launching

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service Will Launch Nov. 19

    Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh gave us an update on the company’s game streaming service Stadia during the company’s fall hardware event in New York Tuesday: Stadia will be available to the public on Nov. 19. Stadia promises to stream games directly from the cloud, with no need to buy a full-blown game console. Consumers [...]

  • Fortnite Chapter 2

    'Fortnite' Emerges From Black Hole With All-New Island in Chapter 2

    After its previous world was sucked into a black hole, “Fortnite” is back — with an all-new island featuring a map with 13 different locations. The latest installment of the free-to-play battle royale game, which publisher Epic Games calls the first season of “Fortnite” Chapter 2, went live early Tuesday at around 6 a.m. ET. [...]

  • Fortnite-Season-X-Out-of-Time

    'Fortnite' Goes Dark: A Masterful Marketing Stroke by Epic Games

    On Sunday, “Fortnite” — the most popular game on Earth right now — without warning, imploded into darkness. At around 2 p.m. ET on Oct. 13, a meteor in Season 10 of “Fortnite” that had been biding its time set off a cataclysmic chain reaction that sucked up everything on the the island and eventually [...]

  • Hearthstone video game

    Blizzard Reinstates Hong Kong Gamer's Prize but Reaffirms Censure of His Speech

    Major U.S. gaming firm Blizzard Entertainment has reduced its punishment for a professional gamer who shouted a slogan in support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. But the company doubled down on its verdict about the inappropriateness of his conduct. In a Chinese language-only message on its official social media, Blizzard stated that it would “resolutely [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content