The Chinese government continues its harsh clampdown on video games and content streaming. On Saturday, new rules were put in place about streaming with regard to minors. After last month's ban on the streaming of "unauthorized" games – meaning games not given the green flag by the government – these new restrictions now aim to limit overall streaming time for underage viewers.
According to a report by Reuters, the National Radio and Television Administration announced that "platforms need to step up controls to stop underage users from tipping live streamers or becoming live streamers themselves without guardian consent”.
According to the new restrictions put in place, live stream viewers below the age of 18 will no longer be allowed to "tip" money to streamers – a process via which viewers send small amounts of money to the streamer in return for a shoutout. Secondly, platforms will also be required to stop any streams from showing up on child accounts after 10 pm. This is in addition to the drastically low video game time per week that the government thinks children should have.
These restrictions will affect streaming platforms like Bilibili, Huya, Douyu and Douyin. Twitch and YouTube are already restricted in the country.
With regard to the streaming of "unauthorized" games, it was the one avenue where people could get access and information on games that would otherwise not be allowed to market themselves in China. Based on that, people would get their hands on those games via 'alternate' means and play them despite not being screened by the authorities. With this new ban, it will be tough for them to even learn about the new games being released.
For instance, industry analyst Daniel Ahmad pointed out that Elden Ring "was a hit on Chinese game live streaming platforms reaching 17.1m cumulative daily average viewers in its first week. But it's not approved for sale there (People still find ways to buy it ofc). If the below is fully enforced, Elden Ring couldn't be streamed at all."
"For a period of time, issues such as chaotic online lives treaming and teenage addiction to games have raised widespread concerns in society and effective measures need to be taken urgently," said the National Radio and Television Administration of China.
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