China’s game restrictions aren’t working | Pocket

China’s Attempts to Curb Video Game Addiction Not Effective, Study Finds

China has implemented strict regulations to curb video game addiction, including playtime restrictions for minors and restrictions on mobile phone use. However, a recent study published in the scientific journal Nature Human Behaviour has found no evidence that these measures have had a significant impact on excessive gaming.

The study, conducted in partnership with Unity, analyzed over 7 billion hours of playtime from approximately 2.4 billion Chinese gamer profiles. The researchers found no credible evidence for a reduction in the prevalence of heavy playtime following the implementation of regulations. In fact, individual accounts were slightly more likely to engage in heavy play in any given week.

These findings raise doubts about the effectiveness of China’s regulations in curbing video game addiction among minors. While the restrictions have likely reduced the volume of gaming to some extent, the fact that gaming has increased overall suggests that the current measures are not successful.

“We found no evidence of a decrease in the prevalence of heavy play, and more research is needed to understand why,” said Dr. David Zendle, the lead author of the paper. “However, this kind of analysis can be useful for policymakers around the world to inform discussions on regulations in the digital space.”

Healthy Gaming and Regulation Challenges

The study also highlighted that heavy gaming itself is not necessarily an indicator of poor health. While excessive gaming can become problematic if it interferes with daily life, it is not inherently a problem.

“Experiences of disorder derive from gaming interfering with what one wants to be, do, and have throughout life, whereas the experiences of intensive esport play derive from gaming being integrated into self throughout life,” the paper states.

The challenge for policymakers is finding a balance between regulating the gaming industry and promoting healthier activities. China, as a market leader in the gaming industry, faces the difficult task of striking this balance without hindering the industry’s profitability.

This research comes at a time when China has increased the volume of its game approvals after a period of slowdown in the industry.