China-based NetEase, one of the largest internet and video game companies in the world, said it’s not concerned about government regulation of video games and that it believes it will help gaming in the long term.
The comments from NetEase CEO William Ding came during an earnings call this week.
Over the summer, Tencent noted that Chinese government regulators had mostly halted approval of new game releases in China starting in the spring, not allowing the release of paid games in the country. That evolved into a push for greater control of and limitations on games developed for children and concerns of addiction to video games. Tencent has since reduced its marketing budget but still saw a strong third quarter.
In speaking on both topics this week, Ding said that NetEase, which recently signed a deal to co-develop “Diablo Immortal” for smartphones with Blizzard, believes the government’s intention is to regulate and make the game segment overall as a healthy and sustainable segment.
“We fully understand and support the government intention,” he said. “China is the fastest growing and is also now the largest game market in the world and throughout the fast development, there are certain issues emerging. For instance, the undesired impact online of inappropriate content.
“But in the longer term, the regulators’ intention is really to promote the online game segment as a format of entertainment, an educational asset, as well as to promote creativity in cultural innovation. So in the longer term, the government is fully in supportive of developing the online games industry to become healthy and sustainable.”
Later he was asked about the company’s stance on the government’s push for anti-addiction measures in gaming and games.
“We agree that game operators share the responsibility to create a healthy online game environment for minors,” he said. “In fact, more than a decade ago, when we were operating PC games, we already had measures in place to provide protection to minors to prevent addiction. For our log-in system, we always encouraged and required real name with real personal age information for your log-in. So on that, we are going to continue to improve and enhance our mechanism to ensure that we share the appropriate responsibility as a game operator.”
William went on to say that anti-addiction measures for minors shouldn’t just be focused on online games.
“In this cyberworld and this mobile internet age, there are multiple parties who can contribute their asset and obligation in creating a more conducive and healthy internet and mobile internet environment for minors.”