Business & Economy

Tencent tightens controls on video games after Chinese state media criticism

Shanghai, China, Aug 4 (EFE).- Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent on Wednesday announced more restrictions on its video games in the country following criticism by state media, which labeled online gaming as “spiritual opium” and “electronic drugs.”

In a statement posted on its official Weibo account – the Chinese equivalent of Twitter – the company said that despite having improved youth protection measures since 2017, restricting access and payments to 5.8 million accounts per day, a lot remained to be done.

Tencent pointed out that the new measures were even more restrictive than those requested by the government and included reducing the duration that minors can play during weekdays from an hour-and-a-half to an hour, and from three hours to two on holidays.

Moreover, minors under the age of 12 years will not be able to buy games, according to Tencent, which proposes a discussion on whether to directly prohibit them access to online titles.

Tencent’s shares were down 6.11 percent at the end of trading at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Tuesday – they had shed more than 10 percent at the end of the morning session – after the Economic Information Daily, operated by the state-run agency Xinhua, published an article criticizing online gaming.

Following the crash at the stock market, which also affected other large gaming firms including NetEase, the article was deleted and later uploaded again although without the terms “spiritual opium” and “electronic drugs.” EFE


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