China’s Internet economy is booming. Last year, Internet gaming revenue grew by 73 percent to 654.6 Billon RMB. (source: People’s Daily) Companies such as Shanda, The9 and TenCent have become huge businesses providing very popular MMORPG (Massively Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games) such as World of Warcraft, Yulgang and Legend of Mir II to more than 30 million Chinese net users. However, the online gaming world is being put under increasing scrutiny and pressure by the Chinese government.
The industry is already under strict control without even mentioning the firewall. New Internet cafes have been banned and existing ones have to install cameras and check ID cards. The Chinese government clearly thinks there is a problem based on statistics that 13 percent of under 18s are “addicted” to the Internet games, so they have gone one step further by limiting the number of hours that young people can play their favourite MMORPG.
Chinese gaming firms such as NetEase and Shanda Interactive Entertainment have until 15 July to install software which will halve the number of points gamers can score if they play for more than three hours…
Determined gamers who play for more than five hours will get no points at all and face an on-screen warning that they are entering “unhealthy game time”.
In order to verify their age, gamers will be required to register for games using their real names and identity card number. (Source: BBC)
It is not clear how these rules can be easily enforced if gamers migrate to international servers. We also wonder how this will affect other addicted Internet activity. Picture this scenario. You are playing an online game of chess against Gary Kasparov and manage to hold him to a stalemate for two hours and 59 minutes. All of a sudden, you start losing pieces before he check mates you. Another possibility is that letters start vanishing from your blog post when you spend too much time writing an entry.
It is also not very easy to get a clear definition of what exactly is meant by Internet addiction beyond the extremes of dropping dead after playing for many days without any sleep. You may want to try out this quiz to find out just how hooked you are when it comes to net activity and then follow this twelve step plan to recovery.