Young Chinese Gamers Given Point Penalties After Playing For Too Long

from the 1/2-up dept

Last year, Chinese authorities decided that they'd try to fight video game "addiction" among the nation's youth by forcing game companies to make games less fun after three hours of continuous play, and to make players' characters' abilities "severely limited" after five straight hours. Apparently that didn't do the trick, as the government now says that game companies must only give young players half their usual number of points after three hours, and then after five hours, they can score no points at all. While this is a little bit more palatable than some of the other methods the country has tried to treat internet "addicts" in the country (like shock therapy), it still seems a little bit misguided. The fact that so many people supposedly can't live without playing games or going on line is just a manifestation of some deeper issue, and it isn't simply a result of the availability of video games or net cafes.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Paul, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 3:31am

    Well that's a bit vague.. The article doesn't seem to mention anything about different types of game - e.g. how do you quantify "points" in a co-op game. Or what about experienced WoW players, where in raiding the experience of the raid and the special items are the important things rather than scoring experience points? Difficult to implement this if a points system isn't the player's goal...

     

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  2.  
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    UniBoy, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 4:55am

    No girls...

    The problem for young Chinese males is a conspicuous absence of a similar number of young Chinese females. The Chinese gov't should face the fact that video games, porn, prostitution, and crime are all likely to proliferate because of that.

     

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  3.  
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    Beck, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 5:10am

    Careers

    There are a number of young adult Chinese who make their living by playing MMOGs all day, 10 to 12 hours at a time, to earn game currency, which is then sold online. These guys will lose their jobs.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 5:15am

    Re: Careers

    Good, it ruins the game for other people anyway.

     

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  5.  
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    Game Addict, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 5:15am

    Revenue

    What is also missing from the above article, is the fact that lots of the Online Gaming Worlds 'Farmers' are Chinese. IGE, one of the biggest of the Virtual Currency Market brokers, is based in Kowloon, employing 100's of Chinese to play online games.

    Most online games are 'Farmed' now, where groups of players will generate in-game revenue which is then sold to other players around the World for real money.

    Due to low pay, earning up to $50 - $100 a month 'playing' a game can seem very attractive to unemployed Chinese teenagers. Most of the farming groups come from China or Russia, where Internet Caf├ęs have become offices for these players, as Internet access in the home is still rare and expensive, the cost of PC's is also high.

    The Chinese Government should be looking at ways to encourage the 'addicts' to capitilise on this business opportunity, rather than penalise them for it.

     

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  6.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 5:32am

    Re: Revenue


    The Chinese Government should be looking at ways to encourage the 'addicts' to capitilise on this business opportunity, rather than penalise them for it.


    Sounds nice but like most governing bodies they would only go for that if:
    1. The government took the lion's share of the profit.

    2. The 'addict' would be required to collect information on her/his customers to report to the government.

    3. The government would somehow still tax the meager earnings of said 'addict', even after the effects of reason 1. that I just listed above. So in the end all they would be really getting is their monthly bill paid for them by the government. It wouldn't be the addicts capitalizing on the business opportunity it would be the government capitalizing on an addiction.

    Any one of those reasons would drive a lot (but I doubt all) of online game players away (and reason 2 would drive away alot of customers), thus defeating the idea of capitalizing on it and/or causing the government to exploit the remaining players for everything they can.

    And just to be clear this is not a poke specifically at the Chinese government, this is a poke at all governments.

     

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  7.  
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    Raven D., Apr 12th, 2007 @ 5:33am

    Revenue

    I disagree with Game Addict entirely.

    These people should not be farming game currency for Real World Money, because that job violates the Terms of Service for 99% of the games they do this for, of the popular "World of Warcraft" and "Guild Wars".

    In fact the solution is simple, they should get real jobs and do something worth while. If they can't find a real job, then they're doing something wrong or not willing to do what it takes to get a job. Besides the Military is always an option, be it the U.S. or foreign. Yeah it's gonna suck but nobody said life was easy, in fact buy a helmet cause it's gonna hurt. The Government should be looking at other job market opportunities to give them a better option, not just making it taboo. (which is a big lure to some as well)

    So far as these "Farmers" losing their jobs, GOOD read the TOS of most games, and it IS a violation hence the thousands of ban's across these games.

    Do I feel bad for them, not in the slightest considering I work two jobs just to make ends meet none of which damage anyone or anyones game.

    (also side note, if you don't think it hurts anyone, then your probably ignorant to economics or just guilty of it yourself)

     

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  8.  
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    Game Addict, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 5:52am

    Re: Revenue

    Get real Raven, virtual game currencies topped over 1.2 Bn$ last year. Whether it is against the TOS of most roleplaying games (Everquest, WoW etc..) it still happens and the game owners do very little to stop the infringment.

    I made no mention as to whether farming is good or bad, I just stated the facts as to what is happening.

    I am sure that millions more Chinese youth joining the Military is also going to make this world a safer place..

    Not sure what this reference was to? (also side note, if you don't think it hurts anyone, then your probably ignorant to economics or just guilty of it yourself)


    ah well, back to the safe virtual world.... /sigh

     

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  9.  
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    nerd man, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 6:01am

    the reality of it...

    it should not be the govt.s place to force gaming companies to limit the players play time. the government should be working to do things that mke the people willingly get off there ass and go do something else. pluss now adays the world seems to revolve around computers and the internet. why is it a bad thing? these people are playing video games on there computers rather than walking the streets killing, raping, and robing people. people should be happy that a moderate percent of the population is ocupied with video games. if the people are prevented from playing they will get into activites they are less interested in and ruin it fo the people that are pashionate about those activites. so just let them play its not like its will become a global epidemic any time soon for people to be playing games 24/7 and its not like there realy harming you so BACK OFF

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 6:35am



    and you probably still earn 8 times as much working half as long..and enjoy a lifestyle 10 times more comfortable. and you are talking about damaging someone's game...think about it..a game.

    i'm not saying i think what they are doing is right.. i'm just saying dont make light of other peoples situation which you know little about.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 6:35am



    and you probably still earn 8 times as much working half as long..and enjoy a lifestyle 10 times more comfortable. and you are talking about damaging someone's game...think about it..a game.

    i'm not saying i think what they are doing is right.. i'm just saying dont make light of other peoples situation which you know little about.

     

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  12.  
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    Evostick, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 6:40am

    Won't work

    'Addicted' kids aren't stupid.

    If one game limits them after 3 hours, they'll just find another game to play for the rest of the time.

    Or multiple log-ons.

     

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  13.  
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    Superfli95, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 7:00am

    Not important

    I think that the Chinese government, like most governments in the world, has a lot more important things to worry about than people playing computer games. I think time and energy should be spent on things like, oh, bettering the standard of living, creating a better industry that provides more jobs, and other such things. They might even find that doing all this will actually decrease the amount of time people play computer games because they have better things to do.

     

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  14.  
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    Jeff, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 7:16am

    Tomorrow's reasoning

    Nothing will fuel revolution and discontent like limiting entertainment (anyone that played Civilization knows this). I hope the government continues to do this and the repressive Chinese government is overthrown as a result.

    You should ask yourself why playing video games until death happens with frequency in China and not as frequently everywhere else. It's because their online MMO life has a persona that actually progresses throughout life, becomes wealthy and strong, has a reason to exist other than making Nike shoes, and has a measure of freedom that they lack in real life.

     

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  15.  
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    Stuie, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 7:37am

    Re: Careers

    Its not gonna hurt them at all. I know that at least for WoW the rules are different for farmers. Nobody can play on their servers unless they live there. No Americans in Asian servers and so forth. The Chineese however are able to log into all servers. Only their own are restricted. Gold farming goes on.

     

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  16.  
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    Overcast, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 8:19am

    Yeah, I agree with you 100% Jeff. I'm sure for many of them playing, it's the only way they will ever be something more than statistical human cattle for the Chinese government.

     

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  17.  
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    evie, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 8:42am

    Re: No girls...

    I'm not sure I'd categorize video games with porn, prostitution and crime. I see what you're saying, but dont think these things are all in the same category.

     

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  18.  
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    tehpwnmstr, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Careers

    how does someone else playing an mmo for 8 hours a day affect anyone else in the game in anyway at all?

     

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  19.  
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    tehpwnmstr, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 9:07am

    @ me

    also this is a classic example of the censorship and control in communist and to a lesser extent socialist countries

     

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  20.  
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    Raptor85, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 10:48am

    How exactly would this work?

    Im curious, how do they plan on making this work? Are blizzard and the other MMO makers supposed to modify their games and produce a "China" version? It specifies in the article it's a external piece of software that does that, but how would this work in a MMO where points are calculated server side, not client, where the program is not at.

    Granted it's a stupid idea either way, and censorship is just plain wrong. Nothing we can do about it though, hopefully it at least has the good side effect of re-balancing the in-game worlds by reducing the number of gold/item farmers.

     

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  21.  
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    azure rune, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 10:52am

    well with luck those damn farmers will get jailed remember only you can report farmers. do so.

     

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  22.  
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    Rick Bunker, Apr 12th, 2007 @ 2:01pm

    limit game playing time

    Like all ridiculous, intrusive, mind-control measures an attempt like this will be trivial to circumvent. For example in world of warcraft one earns more exp. points while "rested". So players who care about this have multiple characters, and play one for a few hours while it is "rested", then switch to another character.

     

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