China cracks down on addicted MMO players
The problems caused by massively-multiplayer online games in China are well documented, with the government growing increasingly conscious of the genres lure among the increasingly wealthy young middle-classes. Murders, attacks and thefts have already been reported in relation to the playing of MMO titles, and the government have now decided to act in order to contain what they see as a growing social problem. Under new laws last month, young gamers are already banned from playing titles involving combat, and now gamers playing these addictive titles for what the government deems as excessive lengths of time will be penalised too.
All MMO titles will now have to enforce a system penalising gamers who play for more than three hours in one session. The system will be linked to in-game penalties, with avatars weakening progressively once the three-hour mark is passed. It is hoped in-game punishment will curb addictions to these games. The system will become universal come October, and all of the country's major providers have enlisted to help test it beforehand. We'll monitor the impact of these restrictions in China once they kick-off properly.