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Chinese Gamers Circumvent Anti-Obsession Measures 176

Posted by timothy
from the in-autocratic-china-the-hand-wrings-you dept.
Turtlewind writes "A survey by iResearch China shows that the Chinese Government's "anti obsession" measures, reported on Slashdot last year, are being bypassed by MMORPG gamers. While the controls - which force operators of popular games such as World of Warcraft to impose penalties on players who play for more than three to five hours a day - were welcomed by almost half of Chinese gamers, a core of around 14% of players admitted to registering multiple accounts to get around the restrictions. Meanwhile, the government seems to be taking a different approach to the problem of gaming addiction, planning a campaign over the upcoming summer vacation to increase enforcement of laws banning minors from internet cafes."
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Chinese Gamers Circumvent Anti-Obsession Measures

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  • Not surprising. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Khaed (544779) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:04AM (#15627179)
    People get addicted to games. It shouldn't be surprising when the really addicted get around the filters. I imagine it was top priority for a lot of them.

    But, really, more than 5 hours a day? Doesn't your ass get numb?
    • two words (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      office employee?
      • Re:two words (Score:4, Informative)

        by Khaed (544779) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:11AM (#15627215)
        I assume office employees get up and move around more often than someone engaged in a real time video game. I can save a document or source code and get coffee. I don't know how many MMO games people can pause at any point (I know Starcraft gives each player 3 time outs), and I don't know how many people would appreciate their party members randomly vanishing in mid-battle.

        I'm not saying it's impossible, just not likely. If you're addicted enough to get more than one account, chances are, you sit there the entire time.

        Or take the laptop with wifi into the bathroom with you...
        • by Volanin (935080) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:21AM (#15627280)
          I totally agree with what you say... ...but doesn't it intrigue you that, after 8 hours of office work, you usually end the day feeling like shit. And after the same 8 hours of lan partying with friends, you usually leave feeling renewed?

          Just my two cents!
          • by Khaed (544779) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:26AM (#15627307)
            I always figured that's why it was called "work."
          • Maybe not renewed, but after spending lots of time on raiding a long end-game instance with your guildies, seeing that some of them (even you) got good items, and everybody had fun, you feel rewarded. Not many can say that after 8 hours of work. And that makes being tired and sleepy worthy of. Otherwise nobody would ever play more than 1 or 2 hours.
            • You work for free?

              I guess because people don't get paid at the end of every shift they work, they don't see that their reward is their paycheck.
              • Face it. Paycheck usually doesn't represent what you work for. Sometimes (lucky) is more than what you deserve, but usually is the other way around.
              • Re:two words (Score:3, Insightful)

                A paycheck isn't a reward, it's a trade. Given the decrease in employee negotiation power lately, it's usually not even a fair trade. Somewhere, someone decided that the most important thing in life is having large amounts of money, and those that do tend to have unbelievable power over the rest of us...and usually aren't all that bright about it, but are at least organized.

                Maybe that end of the year bonus is a reward...usually even with good ratings it's well below what you deserve. I guess I agree, a week
            • "seeing that some of them (even you) got good items, and everybody had fun, you feel rewarded. Not many can say that after 8 hours of work"
              In the working world we call it a wage, it lets you buy real items, maybe even computer games. Nothing more rewarding then actualy being rewarded. :P Something to ponder.
          • I feel the same after work as after a lan, but I really like my job. . .

            well I'm new so I'm still eager to do things, give me a few months before my eyes glaze over, having to answer to 8 bosses after I make a mistake on my TPS reports.
            I'll soon feel like every day is worse than the one before, so that every day that you see me, that's the worst day of my life.

            But until then life is good :P
    • Rebelion (Score:5, Funny)

      by Lucan Varo (974578) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:10AM (#15627201)
      If this won't start an uprising in China, nothing will.
    • Not if you have a good natural couch ;)

      Or just a good pillow, or a good seat

      I'm known among my family to be able to sit in front on the computer or a game console for around 8-10 hours. But I always take eating breaks or bio breaks.

      People obsessed with games are everywhere, but I don't understand why only chinese and similars die because of it.
    • Doesn't your ass get numb?

      Yes
    • Re:Not surprising. (Score:1, Interesting)

      by AviLazar (741826)
      Only n00b players have their asses get numb. Real gamers utilize the Hermen Miller Aeron chair. For about $600 US you too can enjoy this comfort. It is pourous so it airs out (no more sweaty smelly chair). It is so comfortable that you can fall asleep in it (I have and I am 6'3).

      Actually, there are some hardcore addicted players - these are not the players who want to play for 5 hours, 8 hours or even spend their entire saturday playing. The addicted ones are those who

      1) Take drugs to stay up insane ho
    • 'Cause circumventing restrictions to do something, even for longer periods of time, is quite obviously an addiction. Whatever happened to just "having fun"?
      • I'm not saying that anyone who plays games a lot is addicted. I play games for long periods of time sometimes myself. I sat and played Vice City for over five hours before, and I know I've played RPGs longer -- especially during the summers when I was younger. Just not regularly. Certainly not enough to die from it (which is, I believe, the cause for these restrictions). Maybe I just get bored with games easy (5+ hours a day? In a week I'm going to be sick of looking at it and sick of the music and/or sound
    • Doesn't your ass get numb?

      Only when I ride him bare-back.
      Plus, he hates video games.
    • Re:Not surprising. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @09:20AM (#15627606)
      It'd be my top priority even if I didn't like the game. Imagine, someone telling me what's good for me, and making a law out of it.

      It's like the idiots who were trying to criminalize junk food. Without a law to forbid me, I never eat the crap. If someone tried to make it I'd eat two bags of cheetos, smoke 3 packs a day and wash it all down with a few bottles of whiskey. Just for spite.

      We need to teach them kids some good old fashioned rebelliousness as part of our outsourcing efforts. Make their government pay for enticing our corporations over.
      • If someone tried to make it I'd eat two bags of cheetos, smoke 3 packs a day and wash it all down with a few bottles of whiskey.

        I can see it now, the next celebrity diet:

        "The cheetos, cigarettes and whiskey diet. By Kevin Federline."
      • It's like the idiots who were trying to criminalize junk food. Without a law to forbid me, I never eat the crap. If someone tried to make it I'd eat two bags of cheetos, smoke 3 packs a day and wash it all down with a few bottles of whiskey. Just for spite.

        That explains your heroine and crack addictions.
      • I'll only mod this insightful if you can say you feel the same way about criminalization of drugs. Oh wait, now I can't mod. Damn!

        -matthew
      • I guess that makes you a dope smoking, heroin shooting, crack smoking, moonshine drinking, gay polygamist.....if your from the U.S. anyway.
    • After a little while, you start to get the thousands-of-little-pinpricks feeling. But just as in sports, to be one of the true hardcore, you've got to play through the pain, man. Play through the pain.
  • Parents anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andrewman327 (635952) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:05AM (#15627183) Homepage Journal
    "...to increase enforcement of laws banning minors from internet cafes."


    Where are there parents while they spend so many hours per day at these places? I think that they should bare some responsibility for their children's actions.

    • Re:Parents anyone? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Khaed (544779)
      It's possible their parents are playing WoW or another MMORPG, too. I knew a (very irritating) girl who was the only person in her family who didn't play WoW obsessively.

      That, or they're like American parents, and they think their kids are everyone else's responsibility. Is there a Chinese Jack Thompson?
    • by vertinox (846076) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @10:07AM (#15627967)
      Where are there parents while they spend so many hours per day at these places? I think that they should bare some responsibility for their children's actions.

      To be fair, the parents are busy spending 15 hour work days making your iPods in slave like conditions. Are you feeling any better now?
    • Where are the parents you ask? I can tell you.

      They are busy raiding Molten Core or trying to gain exaulted rep with Argent Dawn. Which leaves very little time to deal with the children.
  • by tygerstripes (832644) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:06AM (#15627190)
    core of around 14% of players admitted to registering multiple accounts to get around the restrictions

    Well, a change is as good as a rest!
  • Gaming companies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by foo52 (980867) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:10AM (#15627203)
    It may just be me, but I don't think the companies that make the games are going to be bothered with people paying for more than one account. Besides, just as with Jack Thompson, people will play no matter what regulations are in place.
  • by Volanin (935080) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:13AM (#15627232)
    While the controls - which force operators of popular games such as World of Warcraft to impose penalties on players who play for more than three to five hours a day...


    Man... are they really trying to solve the addiction problem by forbidding
    the youngers from playing the games? I have no researches to base my ideas
    on, but to me it seems that's the worst possible approach.

    Bad habits cannot be eliminated. If you want to get rid of a bad habit, you
    must replace it with a good one. The government should be doing some outdoor
    activities campaigns or incentive to practice sports, or anything else
    (the solution, of course, is not so trivial), but restricting the game
    hours allowed, and blocking minors from internet cafes *without*
    replacing this activity for something better will *not* solve
    the problem.

    Hell, it may sound a little pessimistic, but this "solution" may even
    aggravate the problem if these kids/teenagers start developing even
    worst habits like drugs or alcohol because they have nothing else
    to fill their lives with.
    • by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:18AM (#15627261) Homepage Journal
      Man... are they really trying to solve the addiction problem by forbidding the youngers from playing the games?
      Hell, it may sound a little pessimistic, but this "solution" may even aggravate the problem if these kids/teenagers start developing even worst habits like drugs or alcohol because they have nothing else to fill their lives with.
      But didn't you hear? They made it against the rules for kids to use drugs or alcohol, and that's why it never ever happens anymore.
    • Bad habits cannot be eliminated. If you want to get rid of a bad habit, you must replace it with a good one.
      That's odd, I quit smoking and didn't replace it with anything. Sure, I fiddled with stuff to keep my hands busy in the beginning, but I don't do that anymore.

      If you mean that those affected by the law will need something else to do during that time, well, that's just plain obvious and has nothing to do with replacng one habit with another.
    • If you want to get rid of a bad habit, you must replace it with a good one.

      Or, you can replace it with a similar but less bad one. For example, I quit my nail-biting habit about eight months ago. To do this, every time that I put my hands up to my mouth to bite, I put my fingers in my teeth and simply didn't bite. Obviously, that's still disgusting, but eventually, it gave way to me losing the compunction to putting my fingers in my mouth at all.
    • Why does the government have to do ANYTHING about it? The government (in the US anyway) is in no position to be "replacing" the bad habits of kids with anything.

      Hell, it may sound a little pessimistic, but this "solution" may even
      aggravate the problem if these kids/teenagers start developing even
      worst habits like drugs or alcohol because they have nothing else
      to fill their lives with.


      This is already a big problem.

      -matthew
  • News at 11! (Score:4, Funny)

    by PixelPirate (984935) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:15AM (#15627240)
    Addicts find ways to break rules to get fix... Holy Hell my world is collapsing...
    • One good thing: it helps keep those MMORPG kiddies who play 12 hours a day from having such a huge advantage over gamers who only play a few hours a day and never get a chance to level up the same way. And it reduces the load on the gaming companies from those 12 hour a day players, who never free up resources for others to play on the same servers.
      • The hardcore gamers bring in far more money in extra accounts, keeping the gold farmers in business, and free advertising than they possibly cost in resources.
      • One good thing: it helps keep those MMORPG kiddies who play 12 hours a day from having such a huge advantage over gamers who only play a few hours a day and never get a chance to level up the same way. And it reduces the load on the gaming companies from those 12 hour a day players, who never free up resources for others to play on the same servers.

        Let's have game companies make calculations about how to appeal to the most players and how to manage their resources to serve games. The advantages you sugge

  • Ouch. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:15AM (#15627243) Homepage Journal
    I know how the gold farmers among those affected must feel.. I once had a full-time job cut me down to part-time hours.
  • I thought the people dieing from obsessive gaming were adults (20+ [chinadaily.com.cn]).
    Preventing minors to enter internet-cafés would target the wrong audience, wouldn't it?
    What would those minors do when they have been DIEING to play a game because of all the media-hype around it, but couldn't because of local laws, and at a certain moment become "legal to game"?

    Right.. play all they can to "catch up", even if it costs sleeping and eating...
  • by aymanh (892834) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:18AM (#15627256) Journal
    I have another suggestion for the Chinese government, why don't they create a squad of Orcs that patrols WoW looking for lazy unproductive Chinese players and executes them in game?
    • After X hours, the players turn into "Obssessed Peon"s that can be hit with a special Blackjack item to boot them from all servers for Y hours.

      You could even make a quest/put in some kind of reward (honor points?) to encourage narc behavior.
    • Wait. You're telling me I could get paid to do something I already do? So tempting.
  • So. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tim C (15259) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:18AM (#15627257)
    It's fine to work for 8 to 14 hours a day, but not permitted to perform an entertaining, pleasurable activity for more than 3 to 5 hours?

    I appreciate that some people have a genuine problem with addiction, but I have to question society's priorities sometimes. People do literally work themselves to death, too.
    • Re:So. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Alexandra Erenhart (880036) <saiyanprincess@g ... SD.com minus bsd> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:49AM (#15627426) Homepage
      That is because a lot of people see games as "wasting your time". So, for them, is fine to break your back working 8-14 hours a day, because you're "doing something productive". Call it social perception. If you spend 5 hours playing, for them is the same as if you spent those same 5 hours laying over your back admiring the ceiling.
      • by FleaPlus (6935) *
        That is because a lot of people see games as "wasting your time". So, for them, is fine to break your back working 8-14 hours a day, because you're "doing something productive". Call it social perception. If you spend 5 hours playing, for them is the same as if you spent those same 5 hours laying over your back admiring the ceiling.

        It's not social perception. It's more that playing WoW does nothing to further the goals of the Chinese government.
  • As an outsider... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rAiNsT0rm (877553) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:20AM (#15627269) Homepage
    From the outside looking in, I can see a couple things going on here:

    When life is so force-fed and censored as it can be in China, outlets like MMORPG's are the only form of "freedom" and people flock to them... so much so that it is an epidemic.

    On top of this I see a problem where the more people inside playing MMO's are not out pumping money into the economy for goods, services, entertainment, etc.

    As an avid gamer, and someone who has worked in this field, I actually find this sad. It is not that WoW is such an amazing game, as it is a sign of how low many people value their lives and free time. Gaming is one thing, _needing_ to spend so many hours inside a virtual world is another. Most MMO's aren't really that great, and force long grinds and tedious gameplay with little reward for the time and money spent. This is not confined to China either, it is just magnified there. MMO's are a bad trend, and one that needs to be channeled in a different direction. Massive online playable games are good, and are very engaging, but they need to become more than long, drawn-out time wasters and overflowing coffers of money... they need to become fun and exciting and to the point even if this comes at the expense of some profit. I'll admit Guild Wars had me hooked for a few months myself, but the endless nerfs and radical gameplay changes that constantly rendered my time and effort useless made me remember why MMO's are a sham. I just think that many people are missing the real story here... WHY are MMO's such a big problem, what is the root of this problem?
    • When life is so force-fed and censored as it can be in China, outlets like MMORPG's are the only form of "freedom" and people flock to them... so much so that it is an epidemic.

      Exactly. Why is China messing with the "bread and circuses" formula? It's worked so well in the past.
    • by pr0nbot (313417) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:50AM (#15627433)
      Most MMO's aren't really that great, and force long grinds and tedious gameplay with little reward for the time and money spent.

      Apart from the social aspects of MMOs, I'd say one of the defining factors of their addictiveness is that they're basically easy. You can progress (i.e. gain material rewards) without really having to think much. Contrast this with the real world where reward is not proportional to time or effort.

      • Contrast this with the real world where reward is not proportional to time or effort

        I guess that's exactly why I prefer playing than doing something else. Thanks for putting words on my thought.
      • What you are saying is that it's right up there with Television. TV is adictive too. I think fo the same reasons. Many peole like being a zombie. Possably drugs do the same. I don't know why but there must be something built-into many people that makes them prefer to be passive. Just look at the P2P networks. Why are they not filled with photos, videios and music that people made and want to share?

        My guess is that it is basic human evolution. We evelooved over the ages so that 99% id the populat

        • What you are saying is that it's right up there with Television

          No, not really. I do think the social aspect is the main thing that keeps people on MMORPGs. To progress you have to group up, and so you meet people, some you like, some you don't, you join a guild, you log on to see who else is on, you go on naked Deadmines runs, you chat to people about real life, etc. I'd hardly call games passive entertainment, nor would I call someone who cooperates but doesn't lead "passive".

          I don't know why some people a
    • When life is so force-fed and censored as it can be in China, outlets like MMORPG's are the only form of "freedom" and people flock to them... so much so that it is an epidemic.

      As an "outsider" what makes you think your average Chinese person is wandering around in desperation looking for this so-called "freedom" that he's missing? How is being trapped in a MMORPG with it's own authoritarian arbitrary rule any different from whatever distorted reality you're implying these foreigners live in? And ultimat
      • Re:As an outsider... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rAiNsT0rm (877553)
        Excuse me sir, your ignorance is showing. I have traveled to China, I have friends and family who live there... I have direct, personal knowledge of life both in the cities and in the rural areas. Try traveling to Chna and accessing the internet from an internet cafe sometime, where you cannot access any server outside China. You will then understand why it is futile to try to do anything but play an MMO.

        It is even more sad that you have no concept of what life is actually like in China for the average citi
    • When life is so force-fed and censored as it can be in China, outlets like MMORPG's are the only form of "freedom" and people flock to them... so much so that it is an epidemic.

      Er, personally I know a handful of people in the US who've gotten seriously hooked on MMORPGs. The ratio of people I know with a gaming "problem" on that scale to people I know with a drug or alcohol problem is -- well, let's say there are more gamers and leave it there.

      What does that mean about the U.S., based on your "escape i

  • ADHD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mulhollandj (807571) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:20AM (#15627272)
    It is interesting to see how kids and adults with ADHD who normally can't focus on anything can hyper-focus on a game. It becomes an addiction much like alcohol or drugs. It is very difficult to overcome by yourself. I have been there. I am grateful to have a wife who gets after me if I play too much now but not everybody has someone looking out for them or even parents that care. What can we do to help them? I don't think it is the role of government but the our role has human beings to help our neighbors.
    • Funny, I'm willing to bet that if human beings instead took on the role of "live and let live", we'd have a lot less problems.
    • There's probably a simpler explanation for this, but everyone's thinking like free worlders here.

      The truth is that living in China sucks so much, the perfect fantasy of WoW is that much more alluring.
  • by Brix Braxton (676594) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:24AM (#15627296) Homepage
    I have a teen aged punk ass that locks himself in his room with his gaming machine flanked by two laptop's playing Lineage all day -the damn lawn is getting tall and I could sure use a dose of this in my household.
    • Place yourself near the garden door with a yellow exclamation point over your head. He might get interested in the quest of "saving the house from the never-ending growth of the evil lawn". Who knows, it might actually work :P
    • Re:Bring it on! (Score:1, Redundant)

      by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
      You need an emo lawn. It cuts itself.
    • Re:Bring it on! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      So why aren't you doing anything about it? You sound like his father, so I'll assume you are, in which case the appropriate thing to do is to physically remove the lock from his door, take away both of those laptops (what the hell does he need two laptops for, in addition to a desktop? Are you trying to spoil him rotten?), and tell him that if you see him playing Lineage outside of the hours of 6:00 to 8:00 (or if he hasn't done his homework), you'll just sell all of his computers on eBay.

      Then stick to yo
  • by mzs (595629) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @08:32AM (#15627340)
    Look banning minors from internet cafes is not really about combating internet addiction. If it were then what will it do for those that are adults, you know the same people that do not have parents anymore to not give money and permission to go to the internet cafe. This move is about preventing impressionable idealistic youths from reading about topics that will later lead to dissent. There is a certain danger to visiting certain sites from home or school. A lax internet cafe is a simple way around that.
  • This system wasn't put in place to restrict the amount of time people play. Blizzard could care less how much time someone puts into a game. The rest system in WoW and Vitality system in EQ2 is in place so that casual gamers have some (albeit very small) chance of not falling behind power gamers in the XP grind. And as the article mentioned, it's common place to hear (out of vit/rest, switching to my alt) so in reality the only thing it limits is the desire to grind a single character to max level without
  • Oh c'mon, I can't believe it. This is the communist, big-brother like China which keeps a very strict control over its citizens. Or is it???

    I think that somewhere, somehow we lost a bit of touch about China's reality. Perhaps the government isn't as powerful as we thought...

    If I was the chinese govt, I would issue ID cards with photograph and fingerprint to all people over 12, and then over 18, and use that to verify that the teenagers can't REALLY access internet cafes.

    Oh well.
  • How are the laws are affecting the gold farming shops? (Not saying all gold farmers are chinese, just that there are chinese gold farmers) Do they just purchase an additional accounts or do they have more work arounds?
  • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @09:55AM (#15627871) Journal
    So they let people play on-line games? Maybe a group of people should start accounts and use the dialog capabilities in the games to pass along news and info and get past the censorship they have on the rest of the web.

    My dwarf warrior will be named "Tiananmen Massacre".
  • My kids developed a pretty serious Animal Crossing thing with their new DS a while ago, and I had to institute an allowance of time and some prerequisites (homework and instrument practice first) in order to play.

    As the very sort of person who sees the problem being acted on here, I would deeply resent any attempt by Tipper Gore, Jack Thompson, or any politician to impose even the standards by which my kids were judged, let alone the specific measures to enforce them. That'd be every bit as likely to intr

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ok stuff like this is getting annoying.
    "Come on!!! This is the f***ing Chinese government. They don't give two shits about your health." Its obvious you never lived in china. Ive lived in a chinese University for a year now and I hope to clarify things about the evil chinese government. Yes they are communist. No that doesnt mean people cant have a life here.Most things are the same as at home(In ireland) but with a safer society. 95% of Chinese people agree with rules like this. Its obvious the chinese gov

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