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In China, 'Fortnite' Penalizes Minors for Playing Too Much

Gamers under the age of 18 have to take regular breaks or face diminishing returns after three hours of playing 'Fortnite.'
Image: Epic Games 

Fortnite is one of the most popular games in the world. It’s so popular that some parents in the United States worry their kids might be addicted. In China, the government has taken proactive steps to prevent what it sees as a threat to the younger generation. When gamers are playing Fornite in China, the game dramatically changes after three hours.

A Reddit post captured how it works—after three hours of play, a popup interrupts Fortnite to tell the player to take a break and attend their studies. The rate of experience gain (which helps unlock cosmetic items) drops fifty percent and challenges are disabled. Players can still play, but the progression system is completely nerfed.

A representative from Epic Games, which develops Fortnite, confirmed that the screenshot was real and that Epic Games takes steps to remain compliant with Chinese Law. In China, most media runs through the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP).

"The GAPP has the legal authority to screen, censor, and ban any print, electronic, or Internet publication in China,” according to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, an agency tasked with keeping track of laws in China.

Gaming giant Tencent (which owns 40 percent of Epic Games) took a stock hit recently because the government stopped approving new games for release for almost a year. The government hit the pause button because it was changing its formal approval process, not because it’s afraid of video games. The approval process has opened back up and new games are flowing again.

But those games have to comply with Chinese laws, which means that anyone under the age of 18 is subject to restrictions such as those in Fortnite. Gamers in China have to register with the government to prove they’re not underage. Gaming addiction has been one of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s areas of social concern, even claiming that too much gaming has led to an epidemic of myopia among China’s children.