The Weekly Raid: Should Governments Restrict Game Time?
Governments in Asia have been imposing various restrictions on underage users for years, but Tencent has upped the ante with their recent changes to the mobile MOBA Strike of Kings.
Following criticism from The People's Daily (a Communist Party affiliated newspaper), Tencent has implement severe restrictions on underage gamers. Those under 13 will be able to play for only 1 hour a day while those under 17 can play for 2 hours. While matches in Strike of Kings are far faster than those in PC mobas like Dota 2 or League of Legends, they can still take a good 10-15 minutes each. That means teens can only play 4-8 matches a day, tops.
The health hazards of addictive gaming are very real, and the Chinese government's rebuke of Tencent came after reports of several minors injuring themselves:
A 17-year-old from Guangdong Province suffered a type of stroke after spending 40 consecutive hours on the game, and a 13-year-old jumped off a building after being lectured by his father for spending too much time playing on his phone.
Addicitive gaming behavior isn't restricted to Asia. Many Western media outlets have been publishing their takes on a recent economic paper by University of Chicago economist Erik Hurst who claims young men are dropping out of the labor force due in large part to the attractive alternative provided by immersive video games. MMOs in particular are generally singled out in these reports. In a speech, Mr Hurst used his own son as an example of this addictive behavior:
"If it were up to him, I have no doubt he would play video games 23 and a half hours per day. He told me so. If we didn't ration video games, I am not sure he would ever eat. I am positive he wouldn't shower."
As an avid gamer, I can't dispute these academic findings. Playing MMORPGs certainly feels like work at time, but a rewarding kind of work where your next "promotion" is always within reach. With that in mind, do you think governments should do more to restrict gaming time for minors, and more generally do you think society will have to find some solution to so many young men choosing gaming over pursuing low skill labor?