Back in 2018, the World Health Organisation (WHO) added gaming addiction to its list of International Classification of Diseases. The response to it was overblown, but the dust from that has mostly settled by now. But not for China, it seems. Tencent’s stock has taken a dip as state-controlled media started calling video games the likes of “spiritual opium” and “electronic drugs”.
WSJ and Bloomberg report that The Economic Information Daily, owned by the government-controlled Xinhua News Agency, ran a story of a student who claimed to have played Tencent’s Honor of Kings (Arena of Valor) for eight hours a day. The article also called for stricter regulations on gaming in China. This then caused the Chinese conglomerate’s stock to drop by 11%.
For its part, Tencent says that it will have stricter limitations on minor’s playtime of its games. This involves only letting play for an hour a day on weekdays, and two on weekends and holidays.
But overall, it’s hard to see the report of what seemed like a single account of students spending excessive amounts of time gaming as anything but overblown. Equally overblown is the reaction towards it, making it a repeat of the media coverage in 2018, when the WHO first declared gaming addiction as a problem.