China Announces New Regulations For Monetization Of Online Gaming

The announcement has shareholders VERY worried.

QuintLyn Bowers
By QuintLyn Bowers, News Editor Posted:
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China Game Regulations

China is notoriously strict when it comes to video games, a fact that’s not new. Most online gamers are aware of the fact that Blizzard makes a somewhat different version of World of Warcraft in order to meet some of China’s rules, or that China is the only country that has its own Eve Online server rather than being on Tranquility with the rest of the world.

In more recent years, the Country has made news regarding regulations put in to regulate the amount of time minors spend playing video games. They even stopped approving new games for a while. The reason given at the time was to help combat gaming addiction.

While the country’s regulators are back to approving new games, they are obviously still concerned with some facets of online gaming practices, so the latest announcement probably shouldn’t be too surprising.

In an effort to curtail monetary spending, as well as time spent in games, Chinese regulators have announced new rules that affect what are now pretty standard reward systems designed to encourage both these things. Going forward, online games are banned from giving daily login rewards, bonuses for spending real-world money for the first time, or rewards for logging in on consecutive days.

Other requirements include:

  • If a game closes, unused currency must be refunded.
  • Games containing loot boxes must also offer each item in them for sale directly.
  • Limits on how much can be spent (I.E. Caps)
  • Disabling of gacha mechanics for minors, or the auctioning/speculation of virtual items.

According to Reuters, this announcement has caused a great deal of worry among video game investors and companies like Tencent and NetEase have felt the effect on the stock market. Tencent’s shares dropped about 16% and NetEases dipped even lower with a 25% decrease.

The outlet spoke with Tencent’s vice president Vigo Zhang, who told them the company doesn’t need to change “its reasonable business model or operations”. He went on to add that Tencent has been “strictly implementing regulatory requirements”.

Of course, as rules are different throughout the rest of the globe, it’s unlikely that those of us outside China will be impacted by these changes.

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In this article: Tencent, NetEase.

About the Author

QuintLyn Bowers
QuintLyn Bowers, News Editor

QuintLyn is a long-time lover of all things video game related will happily talk about them to anyone that will listen. She began writing about games for various gaming sites a little over ten years ago and has taken on various roles in the games community.

More Stories by QuintLyn Bowers

Discussion (1)

justsomeguy 1 month ago
Considering as how ingrained the profit model of a game is in how it works on a whole, and as China is a big market for games, I absolutely can see this having a big global effect on games if it goes through as suggested.

It's one thing to for instance remove loot boxes from one version, but other things, like a gacha, is basically a core aspect of a game, so can't be so easily changed. Since companies wouldn't want to build fundamentally different versions, for different regions, one would expect changes made due to regulations for a big market like China, will see changes in the version played in other regions as well. The only way they'd avoid making such changes, is to just abandon the Chinese market entirely, although given how hard various companies have been trying to get into China, as well as how many games, particularly mobile ones, are coming to be made in China in the first place, that seems unlikely.


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