Chinese state media looks to strengthen oversight on online games

China should tighten regulations of online games to ensure they don’t misrepresent history, state media reported after a government-controlled agency criticized the industry earlier this month.

Gaming regulators need to step up management and have “zero tolerance” for online games that have deviated from the normal track, according to a commentary on the China National Radio website on Saturday, calling games that “wantonly” distort history and historical figures “inferior” and a harmful form of cultural communication.

The commentary said some games could be give the wrong impression to players, most of whom are young.

“The gaming industry should increase self-discipline, and respect for national history should be the bottom line for the industry’s employees,” it said.

Tencent Holdings Ltd. said earlier this month that it would consider a ban on children kids under the age of 12 from playing some games after an offshoot of Xinhua, China’s official news agency, described them as “spiritual opium” and “electronic drugs.” The comment was later retracted.

The developments stoked fears that the government would next set its sights on online entertainment after reining in the e-commerce, ride-hailing and online education industries.

Tencent joined rivals NetEase Inc. and XD Inc. in a steep selloff after the blistering critique of the industry by the Xinhua outlet.

Many of China’s online-game operators have since increased mechanisms to prevent addiction in adolescents, including limiting play time.

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