Chinese officials have announced a new set of rules to control the content of online games, following continuing concerns about the effect of online games on the country’s youth.
Particular attention has been directed to the issues in recent days after a 13 year old boy who committed suicide by jumping out of a 24 storey window. Xiao Yi, from the Tianjin municipality in the East of China, was a heavy cyber café user, and left four notes behind indicating that he wanted to meet his computer game friends in heaven.
Referring to the new rules, the government-run Xinhua news agency commented: "The move is part of governmental efforts to purify the content of online games, prompted by strong public pleas." These new guidelines from the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Information Industry, to be released in June, may require Chinese game publishers to revise game rules that might lead to addiction.
The two ministries will also promote a number of titles which it considers to be more 'healthy', aiming particularly to influence younger games during the summer vacation.
Zhang Xinjian, deputy director of the cultural market department of the Ministry of Culture, commented: "If they see such things often, they tend to imitate those actions in real life." He continued, with particular relevance to the 'healthy' games initiative: "But to keep the kids away from detrimental elements, we have to offer them something new and meaningful."
Chinese authorities have previously announced
a formal ratings system for games called the 'Green Games Recommended Standard', and announced initial funding
of 1 to 2 billion yuan (US$120.5 to US$241 million) for government-approved 'healthy' online games late last year.