China's Ministry of Culture has issued a new directive ordering online game operators to remove "unwholesome" content from games made for children.
China isn't exactly a bastion of personal liberty and neither are its online games, which will soon be subject to yet another new government directive. This one demands that operators remove any and all "unwholesome" material from games that target minors; what exactly constitutes "unwholesome" isn't very clearly defined, but "content advocating pornography, cults, superstitions, gambling and violence" is all expressly forbidden and operators must keep minors away from "inappropriate games."
Furthermore, game companies have also been ordered to develop techniques to limit the amount of time minors can spend in online games in order to help curtail the problem of internet and videogame addiction, although again, no specific methods for doing so are suggested. Minors will also not be allowed to buy or sell items with virtual currency, which due to a previous regulation can only be used to purchase virtual items within games.
Facilitating all this is another regulation that came into effect last year requiring online game subscribers to register with their real names, thereby allowing the government to determine exactly who is doing what. It's all part of an effort to promote "moderate gaming" and protect the public health in China, where roughly 24 million citizens suffer from some form of internet addiction, according to the China Youth Association for Network Development. I guess that's just too damn many to ship off to ship off to boot camp.