On August 30, 2021, China’s National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) published a notice on “preventing minors [citizens under 18 years old] from becoming addicted to online games.” In this regulatory document, the NPPA, the top central authority overseeing publishing and video gaming, limits the time that game companies may provide services to minors to between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays, while stating that “[i]t is prohibited to provide online game services to minors in any form at any other time.”
The NPPA had previously issued a notice in 2019 that prohibited game companies from providing services to minors from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. and limited the accumulative time that minors could play to three hours per day on public holidays and 1.5 hours on other days.
The new notice reiterates that all online games must be connected to the “online game anti-addition real-name verification system” operated by the NPPA itself. All players in China, minors and adults, are required to register to play online games using their real names verified by government-issued identification documents. Game companies are prohibited from providing services to any unregistered customers, including through the guest mode for less than one hour, which was allowed under the 2019 rule.The new rule took effect on September 1, 2021.