No evidence that Chinese playtime mandates reduced heavy gaming in one segment of the video games industry

Date

2023-08-10

Advisors

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Springer Nature

Type

Article

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

Governments around the world are considering regulatory measures to reduce young people’s time spent on digital devices, particularly video games. This raises the question of whether proposed regulatory measures would be effective. Since the early 2000s, the Chinese government has been enacting regulations to directly restrict young people’s playtime. In November 2019, it limited players aged under 18 to 1.5 hours of daily playtime and 3 hours on public holidays. Using telemetry data on over seven billion hours of playtime provided by a stakeholder from the video games industry, we found no credible evidence for overall reduction in the prevalence of heavy playtime following the implementation of regulations: individual accounts became 1.14 times more likely to play heavily in any given week (95% confidence interval 1.139–1.141). This falls below our preregistered smallest effect size of interest (2.0) and thus is not interpreted as a practically meaningful increase. Results remain robust across a variety of sensitivity analyses, including an analysis of more recent (2021) adjustments to playtime regulation. This casts doubt on the effectiveness of such state-controlled playtime mandates.

Description

open access article

Keywords

video games, data analytics, public policy

Citation

Zendle, D. et al. (2023) No evidence that Chinese playtime mandates reduced heavy gaming in one segment of the video games industry. Nature Human Behaviour.

Rights

Research Institute

Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility (CCSR)