In latest gaming crackdown, China bans live streaming of unauthorized titles

A man plays an online game on a computer at an internet cafe in Beijing, China August 31, 2021. REUTERS/Florence Lo

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BEIJING/HONG KONG, April 15 (Reuters) – China on Friday said live streaming of unauthorized video games was banned, signaling tougher enforcement of the rules as part of its sweeping crackdown on the gaming industry targeting to purge content that the government does not approve.

The National Radio and Television Administration said platforms of all kinds should not livestream games that are not approved by relevant authorities.

In particular, live streaming of overseas games or competitions should not be done without approval, he said, adding that live streamers should resist “abnormal aesthetics” and culture. harmful of celebrity fans.

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“For some time, issues such as chaotic online live streaming and teenage gambling addiction have caused widespread concern in society and effective action needs to be taken urgently,” the regulator said in a statement. notice published on its website.

Daniel Ahmad, senior analyst at research firm Niko Partners, said while unlicensed games could not be officially released in mainland China, many were promoted on live-streaming platforms such as Huya Inc (HUYA.N ), DouYu International Holdings and Bilibili Inc (9626.HK)

“Earlier this year, Elden Ring was a hit on China’s live game streaming platforms, reaching 17.1 million cumulative average daily viewers, despite being unlicensed,” it said. he declares.

Last year, China introduced new rules that limit the time under-18s can spend playing video games to three hours a week, a move it said was necessary to curb gambling addiction.

It also implemented a game licensing freeze that regulators only lifted this week after game companies made major adjustments to their business practices. Read more

Companies have been urged to remove content that is violent, deemed to celebrate wealth or promote celebrity worship.

On Thursday, China’s largest game company, Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK), said it would shut down a service allowing Chinese gamers to play unapproved foreign games on overseas platforms. Read more

The impact of this latest ban on the shares of major Chinese gaming and live streaming companies was not immediately clear. Hong Kong markets were closed on Friday for a public holiday while Huya and DouYu are listed in the United States.

The ban “could have quite a big impact on gaming companies if strictly enforced,” said Charles Yu, head of the Shanghai office at law firm Pillar Legal.

Tencent, DouYu, Huya and Bilibili did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Reporting by Sophie Yu in Beijing and Josh Ye in Hong Kong; Additional reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Edwina Gibbs, Kirsten Donovan

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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