Headline, October 08 2021/ ''' '' VIDEO GAMES VIRAL '' '''


 VIRAL '' '''

WHIPLASH IN CHINA'S VIDEO GAMES and Beijing adds to the complexity of a nation's compulsive love affair with online play.

China's video game industry is booming. But it sure doesn't feel that way to Stone Shi, a game designer in China. Mr. Shi, 27, got his first job in 2018, when Beijing temporarily suspended approval of new games.

The next year, the government placed new limits on minors' playing time. A few weeks ago, the rules got stricter still. People under 18 can now play just three hours a week, during prescribed times on weekends.

Chinese tech companies, like Tencent, are cornerstones of the global video game industry. The country has also been quick to embrace competitive games, building e-sports stadiums and enabling college students to major in the subject.

Yes, China's relationship with games is decidedly complex. A major source of entertainment in the country, games offer a social outlet and an easily accessible hobby in a country where booming economic growth has disrupted social networks and driven long work hours.

The multiplayer mobile game Honor of Kings, for example, has more than 100 million players a day.

For years, though, officials - and many parents - have worried about the potential downside like addiction and distraction. As a more paternalistic government under the Chinese leader Xi Jinping has turned to direct interventions to mold the way people live and what they do for fun, gaining control over video games has been high on the priority list.

In addition to other pursuits, like celebrity fan clubs, Mr. Xi's government has increasingly deemed games a superfluous distraction at best - and at worst, a societal ill that threatens the cultural and moral guidance of the Chinese Communist Party.

MANY IN CHINA'S GAME INDUSTRY AGREE that games have some downsides. The most popular games in the country are made for smartphones and are free to play -

Meaning the businesses making them live and die according to how well they draw users in and get them to pay for extras. The game makers have become experts at hooking players.

But top-down attempts to wean children off games - what state media has called ''poison'' and ''spiritual pollution'' - have sometimes been worse than the problem itself. Boot camps fond of military discipline have proliferated. So have Chinese media accounts of abuses, like beatings, electroconvulsive therapy and solitary confinement.

Even the country's past ban on consoles like the  PlayStation made things worse, Mr. Shi said.

That ban helped propel the popularity of the free-to-play mobile games. Studios selling games for consoles are motivated to make high - quality games. Not so, he said, with free-to-play games designed to maximise what they can get from players.

For Mr. Shi, the government's new limits are similar to the ones his mother imposed on him growing up. During weekdays, his PlayStation 2 stayed locked away in a cabinet. Each disc he bought was scrutinised. Plenty of them were deemed inappropriate.

When he got to college, he entered a period that he called a ''payback,'' trying to make up for the years when he had strict limits. What's important to understand, he said, is that for a generation that grew up largely without siblings, many with parents who worked late, video games offered a portal to a social world beyond school pressures.

''After school, I would finish supper alone, and it sounds pathetic. But what made it less pathetic was I had my gaming friends,'' he said.

''Banning people from doing something doesn't mean people will do what you want them to do,'' he said.

China is uniquely equipped to control the way children spend time online. A real-name registration system for phone numbers has effectively ended Internet anonymity.

To register for just about anything on China's internet, for instance, you need a phone number. If a child's identity is linked to a cellphone plan, it's simple for companies to identify the child as a minor.

Yet workaround persists. When officials began limiting minors' playing time in 2019, children found ways to get access to cellular numbers linked to adults. Some would buy, others would rent.

Many just borrowed or took their parents or grandparents phones. In response Tencent has required facial recognition to confirm the identity of players on the most popular games.

When Chinese Internet users this month pointed to an account they said was probably being used by minors - because it belonged to a 60-year-old who was masterly in one late-night session on Honor of Kings - the company responded that the account had passed 17 facial recognition scans since March.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Video Games, Downsides, Teens, Business and the world, continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Paul Mozur and Elsie Chen.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of China and then the world. See Ya all prepare and register Greater Global Elections on The World Students Society :  wssciw.blogspot.com and  Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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