China implements new age rating system for video games

A new age rating system for video games has been officially implemented in Mainland China today. The authority behind the initiative is called the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association Technical Committee for Group Standardization.

The new system further strengthens regulation around minors to prevent gaming addiction. Games will now be rated for ages 8+ (Green), 12+ (Blue) and 16+ (Yellow). The 18+ rating seems to be absent under the new system.

Niko Partners’ Daniel Ahmad points out that the regulators have revised the new system 41 times during multiple trial stages. Each age rating comes with its own set of requirements that a game must meet.

Publishers will now have to display the relevant age rating on the game website, login screen and in other relevant materials such as box art.

While the US and Canada have had the ESRB system for over 20 years and Europe has had the PEGI system since 2003, China hasn’t had an official age rating system until now.

The new system, according to Niko Partners, is one of six measures proposed by China’s State Administration of Press and Publication this week. Other proposals include real name identification systems, play time cap for minors, limiting spending of minors in online games, working with parents and schools, and, finally, working with local regulators.

The proposals build on the gaming regulations that have already been in place, so the analyst firm does not expect the new measures “to have a material impact on game publisher earnings and growth” — especially because minors account for a low percentage of spenders.

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