JD.com has removed 86 popular video game titles from its marketplace after China imposed the severest restrictions on game-playing ever seen.
Last week the Chinese government made the surprise announcement that those under the age of 18 would only be allowed to play video games for three hours a week, a move expected to have a drastic impact on the industry.
According to China’s National Press and Publication Administration, under 18s will only be able to play video games for an hour on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on statutory holidays.
In response to the surprise new legislation, Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com has removed nearly 100 video games from its marketplace, including leading titles like FIFA 21, Super Mario Maker 2 and the Last of Us 2.
JD.com says it would ban any video games that violate China’s constitution or national security laws, understood to be games that promote vulgarity, pornography, gambling or violence.
While it’s not clear how China will monitor offline gaming usage, almost all games played online in the country require minors to sign in, allowing the government to log the time spent playing and post a pop-up when they reach their limit.
Video game stocks remained relatively steady following the announcement as children do not buy many games themselves, but analysts have predicted the long-term consequences could be much worse.
Meanwhile Chinese tech giants like Tencent saw billions wiped off of its market value following the news, with online gaming making up around a third of its revenues.
Online gaming has become a hugely profitable business in China due to the huge number of gamers in the country, thought to total over 750 million, with over 100 million of those under 18.
According to the Chinese government, these new restrictions are designed to prevent the country’s youth getting addicted to video games and combat a concerning jump in the cases of short-sightedness.
However many have viewed the move as Beijing’s latest efforts to limit the power of its leading tech firms, including retailers like JD.com, Alibaba and Pinduoduo.