I knew about this one for a bit, but wanted to save it for this, the holiest of December days, as a sort of “gift” for the community. A little morsel of joy to whet your appetite before you open up all those boxes that Santa brought you, and partake in your feast of Christmas ham and advent calendar chocolates with your folks.
China, the world’s trailblazing pioneer of interactive digital entertainment legislation, is litmus-testing yet another set of regulations aimed at video games. There are many interesting components to the floated bill, such as forbidding daily login rewards, but one stands out as it particularly relates to us.
Section 17 forbids any forced PvP in online video games. This means any PvP in an open setting, such as that of EVE, WoW, or basically any multiplayer survival game. This obviously wouldn’t apply to PvP in games like LoL or Counter-Strike, where it’s effectively the sole focus of the game, with players consenting to take part in match-made contests of skill with other players. But doing something like blowing up a mining barge in a 0.9 system in EVE? It’s reeducation camp time for you, buddy. That’s tongue-in-cheek of course, as the regulations would be enforced at the developer level and not aimed at individual gamers. Basically, turn that PvP damage off.
It’s important to note that these regulations aren’t a law, yet. However, as is often the case, they’re effectively guaranteed to become law in some form once announced in this manner.
It’s also important to note that Western companies doing business in China are obligated to abide by certain (most) local regulations. Now, this isn’t to say that CCP will be changing EVE Online any time soon. We’re on a separate server, and it’s unlikely that the CCP cares what the (ahem, other) CCP does with its domestic products. What matters, however, is that China is effectively putting this conversation on the map, and unlike our CCP, their CCP has a lot of pull on the international stage. I hardly doubt that Western governments won’t be having a similar discourse within a few years, or that this won’t shift game design methodology in a certain direction on a macro scale. China is a very big and lucrative market for video games, it’s easier for companies to have a single version of games to manage, and not everyone wants to license their IPs out to local handlers.
Merry Christmas, everyone!