China quietly pulls draft gaming rules from website

Beijing has quietly pulled the proposed curbs on the video game industry from the official website, weeks after the draft guidelines wiped tens of billions of dollars off the market value of local titans.

The link to the draft rules was no longer accessible as of this morning, Haitong Securities reported earlier on Tuesday. Shares of Tencent and NetEase jumped on the news. “This could possibly indicate that there will be further changes in the new measures,” wrote Haitong analysts in the note, accessed via S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The move follows Beijing also removing a key official – the head of the publication bureau of Communist Party’s Propaganda Department – over the handling of the release of the draft rules, which caught investors and gaming giants by surprise.

Local media reported in recent weeks — after the wipeout — that authorities may be open to walking back on some of the proposed rules.

Last month, China’s video game regulator proposed new measures to curb excessive time and money spent on computer and smartphone games. Specific suggestions included eliminating rewards for daily play that can lead to addiction, as well as restricting in-game purchases to limit spending.