The editorial team here at KingLeonard - The Weblog has brought you a few instances of the Chinese government proposing some pretty heavy handed regulations to their burgeoning technology use, but this one is possibly the wackiest so far.
BBC NEWS | Technology | China imposes online gaming curbs
"The new system will impose penalties on players who spend more than three hours playing a game by reducing the abilities of their characters.
Gamers who spend more than five hours will have the abilities of their in-game character severely limited.
Players will be forced to take a five-hour break before they can return to a game.
"The timing mechanism can prevent young people from becoming addicted to online games," said Xiaowei Kou, of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), the body which regulates online gaming.
All the biggest online game operators in China have said they will adopt the new system."
The site I found this via makes this point;
"The scary thing is that because MMOGs are managed at central servers, they are also the ideal cultural form for any totalitarian state: The committee has decided that you will only play three hours per day, young one."
However, given the addictive qualities attributed to thse games, the possibilities for social control are interesting. How long until we see a new MMORPG created in consulation with an insular nation-state designed to train and subdue the populace in a virtual environment?
Ooh, conspiracy theory...
While I'm at it, here's a tidbit from a previous BBC article that kind of blew me away.
"Games (in South Korea) are televised and professional players are treated, as well as paid, like sports stars.
Professional gamers there attract huge sums in sponsorship and can make more than $100,000 a year."
I didn't know that. Why didn't anybody tell me that? This is the sort of thing we should be told!
It just causes me to recall a cartoon (possibly Far Side) reminded to me by my bud Colin where a young lad is feverishly hammering away at the keys of his games computer while his parents look on adoringly with images of their son being paid huge sums of money and becoming "Sega Champion" dancing around in their heads.
I tell ya, the only thing stranger than looking into the future is being there.