China Forms New Ethics Committee To Review Video Games

China’s government has become increasingly interested in how its citizens consume video games in recent years. China’s ethics committee on video games has been established, bringing games back to China after a freeze by the government.

State broadcaster China Central Television (via South China Morning Post) is reporting that a new Online Games Ethics Committee has begun operation recently and has already reviewed 20 games for release in the country.

This news comes after China banned any new games from release after announcing plans to restructure its government. It also comes following domestic criticism that games could lead to addiction among children and may be involved in kids developing bad eyesight.

It seems that the new committee will be a part of the new State Administration of Press and Publications (SAPP), which was formed under the restructure. Out of the 20 games that were reviewed for release, only 9 were approved by the committee. The other 11 are being kept from release, with China’s government suggesting that they “eliminate moral hazard.”

“We view this as a progressive step with more strategic directions likely to be given out by the end of this month,” financial services firm Jefferies is quoted as saying. “This could potentially be followed by a timetable announcement of approval resumption before mid-2019.”

One of the companies hit hardest by the new game freeze is Tencent, the biggest producer of video games in the world. They have lost $100 billion in market value since the March freeze.

Tencent has tried efforts to appeal to the government this year, including introducing a new ID system. As a response to criticism regarding addiction, the new system will restrict game time by age (with children under 12 only being able to play for one hour a day), introduce facial recognition, and will use player’s real names during in-game action.