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China warns game devs not to mess with history

Less-than-literal versions of the past criticised, because somebody needs to think of the children

State-run China National Radio has called for a stronger vetting of online video games and zero tolerance towards those that misrepresent historical events.

Citing a game depicting Chinese general and Song Dynasty hero Yue Fei, China National Radio commentator Zhang Keyue lamented that mostly teenage players could easily be influenced, eventually misinterpreting the game's historical fiction as true.

"In this regard, the online game industry must strengthen self-discipline," said Keyue (his article was interpreted through an online language translation service). He called for the industry to strengthen its pre-approval management.

Beijing has not been shy about its suspicions of gaming. In the past, China has sought to define gaming addiction, required gamers to use their real names when playing online, and instituted gaming curfews.

Earlier this month, a state-owned publication ran a story about gaming causing decline in student performance, and damaging adult relationships by leading family members to ignore their household responsibilities.

China has even referred to gaming as "spiritual opium".

Gaming companies have restricted access to their products in the hope such actions avoid Beijing imposing harsher regulations, as has happened for numerous other industries.

In July Tencent, for example, added facial recognition technology to prevent kids from hopping on to a grown-up's account and staying up late to play surreptitiously, and limited the number of hours minors can engage in video games daily. ®

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