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Plans to limit online game playtime rebuked
Updated: 2005-09-05 13:08

Chinese players of the "World of Warcraft" online game have begun an Internet signature campaign protesting plans to limit the country's online gamers to three hours of consecutive playtime.

An Internet cafe in Shanghai. China is to release a set of new rules to vet the content of online games as part of a campaign to combat what will bring harmful influences on the young.[AFP]

"These restrictions violate the rights of online game players," one Chinese player wrote on the petition. "Trying to prevent young players from being addicted is good, but this new system will be a total failure."

As of August 29, more than 1,000 Chinese gamers had signed the petition opposing implementation of the new time limits.

Chinese authorities said last week they planned to implement a new system that would deduct from the ability levels of online game characters after an individual had played a game for more than three consecutive hours.

The system was designed to prevent online game addiction. The online petition is currently on http://bbs.wowchina.com.

Although many of the gamers expressed outrage at the plan to set time limits on game play, it remained unclear if the petition would be sent to government officials.

In addition, gamers have signed the Internet petition with their online names and not their legal names. The petition is hosted on the "World of Warcraft" Chinese portal, run by The9, which also operates the "World of Warcraft" game in China.

In addition to the petition, gamers have also begun discussing counter measures to circumvent the impact of the new time limits.

The most popular countermeasure suggested has been to open several accounts, so when the new timing system kicks-in for one account, players can then switch to another account and continue play.

In fact, such a tactic would be beneficial for online game operators, an official with a leading Chinese online gaming firm, who asked to remain anonymous, told Interfax.

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