Chinese game publishers seem to have acquiesced to the government’s recent edicts aimed at tackling what it sees as important social issues like video game addiction and the increasing number of ‘effeminate’ men in society. The news comes after a statement was published on the WeChat account of the CGIGC (Chinese Gaming Industry Group Committee), signed by 213 companies, among which were Tencent and Netease.
According to a Reuters report the CGIGC is affiliated with the online game publishing regulator National Press and Publication and speaks for a huge number of game publishers in that part of the world. The measures could see increasing use of facial recognition software as authorities look to clamp down on what they see as excessive gaming by young players, which has even been linked to serious medical issues like blindness by some, although experts have cast doubt on those claims.
While gaming addiction countermeasures should only affect players under Chinese jurisdiction, the use of facial recognition to clamp down on kids staying up late to play a bit more League of Legends does have a dystopian feel to it. Furthermore, the focus on ‘effeminate’ characters in games and their potentially negative effect on young Chinese men is at odds with western publishers’ efforts to be more inclusive with their titles and comes from the older, more conservative arm of the ruling party.
A Reuters report from September 2nd states that ‘authorities and state media have criticized male stars who favor heavy make-up and carefully styled hair and project a feminine image’. The state-run Guangming Daily published an opinion piece at the end of October from a former military official claiming that ‘effeminate stars are immoral and can damage adolescents' values’. There may also be a crackdown on citizens aiming to use foreign gaming platforms that circumvent these rules.