China bans all new video games as it warns children are addicted to ‘electronic drugs’

No video games will be released for the foreseeable future in China, after the government suspended the approval of all new online games indefinitely.

The Chinese authorities maintain a strong grip over the video game industry, with each new release having to go through a strict approval process to obtain a licence. Now, new video games won’t reach gamers for months or even years.

According to the South China Morning Post, the ban was reportedly revealed during a meeting between Chinese gaming companies Tencent and the authorities. Neither company has commented on the suspension, which has not yet been given an end date.

Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping. His government has announced a blanket suspension of licences for new videogames
(Image: Getty Images)

The suspension comes as part of a wider bid by the Chinese Communist Party to crack down on gaming addiction amongst children.

Just last month, the Chinese government banned under-18s from playing online games for more than three hours per week, and restricted weekend play between 8PM and 9PM.

Online gaming companies are required to enforce the ban, which came after state media labelled videogames “spiritual opium” and “electronic drugs” a few weeks prior.

The suspension of new videogame releases, however, is the first of its kind since a 2018 licence approvals freeze.

That saw dozens of games held in gaming prison for nine months as the Chinese government placed the industry under direct control of its propaganda arm.

Young Asian Pretty Pro Gamer win in Online Video Game and cheer with hand up
China boasts the world’s most lucrative gaming market – but authorities have compared videogames to ‘electronic drugs’
(Image: Getty Images)

Video games are a billion dollar-industry in China, with over 665 million players nationwide – making it the world’s biggest gaming market.

Popular games such as Honor of Kings and Clash of Clans are hugely popular, with some gamers spending upwards of eight hours a day battling friends and rivals.

BEIJING, CHINA - OCTOBER 18: Chinese President Xi Jinping, bottom center, and senior members of the government stand during the national anthem prior to the opening session of the 19th Communist Party Congress held at The Great Hall Of The People on October 18, 2017 in Beijing, China. The Communist Party Congress happens only twice in a decade, and provides a glimpse into the world of Chinese politics. For Xi Jinping, the week-long event is a confirmation of his power as Party leader and China's president. Xi's speech to the 2300 delegates in the Great Hall of the People was both optimistic and cautionary, and vowed that Chinese socialism was entering a 'new era'. Xi's control of the Party and the country is almost irrefutable, as he consolidated power during his first five year term and is believed to have widespread popularity.(Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
The suspension is the first of its kind since 2018, when the Chinese Communist Party sought to bring the videogame industry under the control of its propaganda ministries
(Image: Getty Images)

The country even boasts the world’s largest esports market: competitive gaming is going to be one of the official events of the 2022 Asian Games held in the city Hangzhou next year.

Leave a Comment