Chinese Internet giant Tencent startled users — and stockholders — this week when it set new age requirements for several of its online games, including King of Glory.
Tencent’s new policy restricts players under 12 from playing for more one hour each day, and older teens from playing for more than two hours each day. The company has also increased parental controls and improved the game’s identity verification system.
The new policy is a response to government concerns about gaming addiction, and comes at significant financial risk for the company — the multi-player battle game has more than 200 million registered players, 20 percent of whom are under 17 years old.
But Chinese Communist Party media and commentators have objections to the game that go beyond its supposedly addictive nature. They are concerned about the game’s storyline, which they say “subverts Chinese history.”
A July 3 editorial in the Chinese Communist Party-controlled People’s Daily newspaper called the new policy “inadequate” and called for heavier censorship.
The People Daily’s piece in March quoted a history scholar who argued that the game is effectively “cutting off the bloodline” of Chinese culture:
“If we deliberately narrate history in a playful or mocking manner, it is equal to abandoning historical cultural tradition, a cutting off the bloodline of our national culture, which will result in the loss of our cultural direction and goal.”
This critique of historical nihilism has been a major points of ideological contention since 2012. Any historical interpretations and literary works that deviate from the CCP’s interpretations are viewed as distortion or subversion of history.