China’s government has banned those under the age of 18 from playing online video games, except between the times of 8pm to 9pm, on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. The move by the CCCP comes hot on the heels of Chinese state media describing online gaming as ‘spiritual opium’.

Regarding the decision, which has sent the stock of Chinese media giants such as Tencent plummeting, China’s National Press and Publication Administration, the regulator in charge of the industry, described the new restrictions as being put in place to “effectively protect the physical and mental health of minors”.

While politicians have long used video games as a sort of cultural scapegoat to blame systemic problems on, China’s decision, though draconian, is certainly not without merit. 

Online gaming, far from the days of Quake and even ye olde Modern Warfare 2, has become increasingly monetized, and increasingly predatory in it’s monetization. Methods are used, such as slowing game progress, to coax players into in-game purchases, some of which often consist of predatory gambling mechanics. Considering many of these games are specifically aimed at children, there is considerable reason for worry.

Over the past few years, the internet has been dotted with stories of young children spending large sums of money on in-game purchases in the likes of Fifa, Fortnite, and many other multi-platform monstrosities peddled by various tech giants. While these stories have garnered much outcry, such practices of monetization, even when they involve elements of randomness, have largely been left unregulated across a wide variety of states.

A Spotlight document drawn up by the Oireachtas Library and Research Service published in early 2020 for the Irish legislature describes the apparent effect of loot boxes in relation to developing ‘problem gambling’ habits in gamers. Despite this document’s publication however, the issue has not garnered much attention with our government, nor has the Irish media class or even the general public shown much concern.

However, while the Irish public may not be thinking of predatory video games, predatory video games have certainly turned their attention towards Ireland. Not only are our children regular consumers of this ‘spiritual opium’, but Irish culture itself is being used to sell gambling mechanics in games both at home and abroad. 

In particular, so-called ‘gacha’ games such as Fate/Grand Order have been selling players distinctly weeb-ified variants of Cú Chulainn, Scathach and Queen Medb to make billions through gambling mechanics. A Gacha game is typified by where the player needs to spend set aunts of digital currency (often though not always purchased with real currency) to get random things in game, such as playable characters. Of course, this method of distribution has been fused with anime girls, resulting in players spending hundreds, even thousands of euro in order to obtain their favorite waifu. 

I wish I was joking.

While games like F/GO have most certainly breathed new life into Irish cultural icons and mythology it has come at a steep cost. Though I am all for increasing the prominence of Irish mythology, the use of it to sell overpriced digital images of scantily dressed waifus to lonely young men is a step too far. For once, it may actually be justified to cry out against this kind of monetization as a form of so-called ‘cultural appropriation’, but such is likely a can of worms for another article.

Just as social media has only gotten more predatory in its practices over time, so too has gaming become a den of unethical practices and predatory manipulation. While a number of attempts have been made on the cultural level to limit the use of these practices, the ineffectiveness of such methods indicate that it is likely time for the strong arm of government to wrestle these big tech giants back in line. This is without even considering that, in particular, the Irish people have skin in this game, in that it’s their culture, among others, being used to push these practices in some cases.

In this sense, while the above move on China’s part is draconian, and likely will not be all that effective, it is highly likely to be a step in the right direction. It is high time Ireland follows suit.

Posted by Daithí O'Duibhne

5 Comments

  1. The state should never EVER impose any curfews on online activity for its citizens, it would require a massive invasion of privacy to implement as it would require sign ups with ID. Ireland is enough of a nanny state as it is. Many people would be handing over their data to big tech, the less power big tech and the state has over people THE BETTER!

    The less centralized the web is the better!

    It should be up to the parents to look after their own children, not the state. The state should be limited in power regarding intrusion into peoples lives. What is going on with the requirement of face masks for children in schools is seriously disturbing. The parents should be speaking out about it. There likely will be psychological damage from it. Ireland is turning into a real tyrannical regime recently.

    China already is under tech-tyranny, it is a prison with mass-surveillance and a heavily restricted censored internet that limits access to information. Ireland should be following absolutely nothing that they do regarding intrusions of privacy based around the use of the internet.

    China is the model of the globalists. A tyrannical regime with mass-surveillance. It likely has been their testing ground all along. Globalists are heavily connected with china. Its no wonder the scamdemic and the propaganda around it was launched from there.

    Regarding technology, i believe that parents should not be giving their children any access to internet technology, not until they reach a certain age and are educated on the safety and dangers. Parents would not give them keys to a car to drive around in public, so they should not be giving them access to a public domain such as the internet with devices they become addicted to like their parents and big tech harvesting all the DATA! The parents enslavement to tech is carried over to their children unfortunately and its a shame. Its also becoming more difficult for good parents to stand their ground, as such technology is everywhere, a good parent should stand their ground and not give in. But what type of a parent buys an internet device for their children with no safeguards in place and no motivation to supervise them anyway? it is terrible parenting. ITS MADNESS.

    The things people are letting into their homes is ORWELLIAN. Look at the amazon and google speakers that people let into their house monitoring conversations. It is prison esque, look at the QR code scanning around phones tied to a clot-shot to enter a concert or a bar or restaurant. ITS GONE OUT OF CONTROL!

    That technology is enslaving people literally. It has come to the point where the TELL_A_VISION is literally talking to people and telling them what to do. STAY SAFE! STAY AT HOME! STAY LOCAL!

    It has come to the point where peoples medical data and whole life history is in the hands of big tech, FASCISTBOOK and the like.

    In a spiritual sense, you could say tech disconnects people from nature too. It has advantages and disadvantages, but in the wrong hands it is a terrifying tool for CONTROL over society.

    That is why the less centralized technology and the internet is, the less chance it can be used for tyranny.

    Reply

  2. Government isn’t interested in the people. If it was they wouldn’t be foisting experimental medical procedures on children. Are not being woefully naive?

    If the government was to implement the measures you suggest, they would find some way of spinning it into some censorship-centric narrative.

    Reply

  3. @Fionn

    You’re right. Government are a danger to people. Many deaths from the clot shots already in Ireland.

    The elected government in power is extremely dangerous. The government is out of control at this point. They are coercing the populace into recieving dangerous medical procedures in order to gain a sense of freedom. It is not something to be laughed at anymore. They are a danger to peoples health. They crossed a line big time. They need to be heavily criticised and the light needs to be shone on how absolutely reckless they are. Them and the National Public Hysteria Exasperation Team (NPHET)

    Look at the BBC person that recently died from the clot-shot. It is potentially lethal.

    The masking of children in the schools is absolutely shocking. They are psychologically damaging the nations most precious. The promotion of toxic medical procedures to be given to children in the name of protecting lives is seriously sinister. It is normal no matter how you look at it.

    Needs to be spoken about more.

    What is wrong with Ireland? Mass-abortion? Masking of children? Dangerous medical procedures given to children? Housing non-citizens over its own citizenry?

    It is becoming very demonic. There is something not right.

    Mass hypnosis and brainwashing. Greed and corruption. Ireland is becoming a demonic land.

    Reply

  4. Typo *

    The promotion of toxic medical procedures to be given to children in the name of protecting lives is seriously sinister. It is NOT* NORMAL no matter how you look at it.

    Reply

  5. We need nothing from the CCP. They are a danger to the Irish people.

    Reply

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