China's second largest e-commerce platform JD.com will stop selling up to 86 games following a crackdown on gaming that limits children to three hours per week, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) has reported. Popular titles being removed from its platform include FIFA 21, The Last of Us 2 and Super Mario Maker 2.
Earlier this week, China's National Press and Publication Administration (NPAA) regulator issued an edict limiting gaming for kids under 18 to three hours of gaming per week. They're only allowed to play now for an hour every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and on statutory holidays, marking some of the governments strictest measures since a blockade on new approvals back in 2018.
The new rule has a few gaping holes, notably that officials won't be able to monitor unlicensed games not officially in the system. It's difficult to see how officials would monitor offline gameplay, as well.
However, it's still a big shift in JD.com's strategy, as SCMP has noted. The company announced that it would ban any game that violates China's constitution or national security laws. That also includes games that might promote vulgarity, pornography, gambling and violence. (It's hard to see how some of those games like FIFA 21 and Super Mario Maker 2 violate those rules.)
Previously, JD.com allowed sales of certain games that straddled or crossed those lines, banning them only when they stirred up controversy. Other firms have sold banned games using code titles, changing the name of Resident Evil 2: Remake to First Day on the Job at the Police Station: Remake, for example.
The new strategy may be due in to stepped up government enforcement, with Guangdong regional officials arresting 54 parallel importers in April and confiscating $11.9 million worth of smuggled consoles, according to the report.