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China to Recognize Gaming as Official Profession

The Chinese government will recognize gaming as an official profession, according to a newly released list of job titles from China’s Occupation Skill Testing Authority (OSTA).

The OSTA list covers a number of tech-centered new fields including cloud computing engineers, big data analysts, as well as professional gamers. The list was developed following an internal evaluation.

According to the government body, prospective professional gamers – also known as eSports players – will participate in gaming competitions, work as training partners, provide data analysis for the industry, and design new games. Another entry includes the job title “professional gaming operator,” which involves marketing new and existing game titles.

OSTA falls under the umbrella of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. The organization is responsible for developing qualification tests, technical guidance for employment, and vocational training.

The Chinese government has had a complicated relationship with games for some time. In December, following a nine-month moratorium on the publication of numerous games, the government re-started its system of game approvals. China halted new video game approvals in March 2018 following criticism that they are too violent, too addictive, and are leading to higher rates of myopia in children. Some companies are now taking steps to prevent younger gamers from playing too long.

China’s broadcasting regulator has since issued four batches of game licenses over the past month, reaching a total of almost 260 games from smaller companies. Regulators approved two games from Tencent and one from NetEase in January 2019, ending a nearly yearlong freeze on the two gaming giants. But the blockbuster titles “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” or “Fortnite” still failed to make the grade in the world’s largest gaming market.

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