Internet, Law & Policy

Shanghai Publishes Online Game Service Regulations

Promoted and drafted by Shanghai Information Service Association, China's first major online game service local standards have been published in Shanghai, with the aim of offering management regulations to the Chinese online game market and protecting the interests of both online game users and game companies.

In regards to the hot issue of closure or termination of online game IDs, the regulations state that when terminating the IDs and usernames of users, online game companies should explain the reasons to users and record the irregular or controversial activities. These records will be submitted to the relevant organizations for examination and will be taken as references for the service quality evaluations of the operators.

The regulations also require online game companies to issue notices if they want to terminate the users' right to play and to provide account freezing notices to users via emails within seven days of the freezing day. Under the regulations, operators should inform users in advance if they want to stop the operations of their online games: if the online games are suspended, operators should publish an announcement three days in advance; and if the games are terminated, operators should publish the announcement 30 days in advance.

The regulations state online game companies should keep the records of users for six months, providing inquiry aids when disputes occur.

The regulations are expected to offer certain protections to online game users. However, the protections are still limited, because these service regulations are only local standards in Shanghai and they are industry self-discipline regulations without much legal effect.

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