Tencent Tumbles After Media Calls Gaming “Spiritual Opium”

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Shares in Tencent Holdings Ltd are set to fall on Tuesday to their lowest level in a decade after a Chinese state-run media agency described online video games as “spiritual opium,” fuelling concerns that the sector could face tough regulation.

China’s largest social media and video games company lost more than 10% in morning trading, losing nearly $60 billion through its market capitalization.

The newspaper mentioned Tencent’s flagship game, “Honor of Kings,” which it said was the most popular online game among Chinese students, who often played up to eight hours a day.

Authorities have sought to limit the hours teenagers can play online video games, and companies like Tencent have introduced anti-addiction systems that seek to limit young users’ game time.

Citing legal experts and professors, The Economic Information Daily said the current restrictions are not effective in preventing youth addiction, and that there should be more “mandatory means” to increase the social responsibility of video game companies.

Tencent is already under intense pressure from increased regulation on online platforms, having been excluded from exclusive music copyright agreements in July and fined for unfair market practices.

Tencent did not respond to requests for comment.

For more information, read the original story in Reuters.

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