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Published: September 3, 2021

Written by: Stefan Velikov

  • China has issued new laws targeting weekly gaming time for individuals under the age of 18
  • The  regulations will change how professional gaming leagues structure their teams
  • Younger players have already been affected by the new law and many organizations fear the long-term impact the gaming ban would have on the country’s exemplary League of Legends scene

The new regulations will have an impact on the development of the League of Legends and Dota 2 scenes in the country. Some players have already been dropped from their rosters as organizations scrambled to comply with the new Beijing-mandated regulation.

New Chinese Regulations Will Restrict Underage Players

Earlier this week, the Chinese government passed new laws which are targeted at underage gamers. The new regulations state that citizens under the age of 18 are restricted to only three hours of gaming time during the week. Youngsters may join for an hour of gaming on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and during holidays.

With this new law coming into force, the LDL has stated that it will restrict younger players from participating in League of Legends matches. The LDL (League of Legends Development League) is the Academy-level equivalent league for China’s LPL, has announced that it has postponed its semifinal matches, which were supposed to be played on Thursday, September 2. The LDL semifinals have been moved to September 6 and the finals are going to be played on Septmeber 8.

What’s In Store for the LDL’s Younger Players

Like with many other developmental leagues across the globe, the LDL has many players under 18 that are competing at the professional level. China has created one of the most successful breeding grounds for young League of League players and especially so after Riot Games introduced the franchised model.

Now, there are many up-and-coming and established players who may find their efforts to prosper in the Chinese esports ecosystem hindered. Players such as JackeyLove, iBoy, and Uzi were already known the world over well before they were 18 years of age. In fact, the most successful gamers out there showed promise in their early teens and used the relatively excessive free time they had to hone those skills. However, the new regulation is forcing the LDL to give teams time to find replacements for those underage players.

More players are now going to have their hopes of becoming a professional gamer dashed with Joy Dream’s AD carry 1xn, Top Wangxiao, and Naiyou all having been expelt from their teams due to incompatibility between state-mandated rules on gaming and their age. They are now listed as free agents as the team looks for potential replacements. Royal Club, Joy Dream, and Rare Atom Period, which are the other teams competing in the semifinals, have also let go of at least one underaged player.

The LPL concluded its 2021 season yesterday with Edward Gaming beating FunPlus Phoenix in the region’s grand finale against long odds that originally had Phoenix as the favorite. All of the 10 players, who competed in the finals were above the age of 18. None of the four teams, who can still qualify from the LPL, hold an underage player in their respective rosters, but the fact remains that without the correct training conditions, no player can realistically start at 18 and dominate the world’s gaming elite.

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