People’s Daily, which is considered to speak on behalf of the Communist party, leads the initative to introduce age rating systems for games. According to Bloomberg, this initiative was supported by China’s leading publishers including Tencent, NetEase, and Perfect World. Not that they have a lot of say in this.
The online edition of People’s Daily posted a document aptly titled “Proposals for Age Rating for Games.” The document lays down four categories to be assigned to games: for players from the ages of 6, 12, 16 and 18+.
It is envisaged that the state censors will decide whether each submitted game meets the requirements of the assigned rating. They will look at the content, but also at the genre, mechanics and whether it has restrictions on the length of gaming sessions.
According to the newspaper, the document will help the officials to monitor the market for illegal content. The document is also intended to help developers better target their games for players of different ages.
The official purpose of the initative is to protect children.
Tencent and NetEase have already implemented dramatic measures to comply with the state’s policy towards minors. They had to impose limits on play time for children.
Once the new system has been implemented, the leading titles might lose minor players altogether. However, to stay in busines, China’s industry leaders will have to comply with the party line.