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Gaming stocks fall amid Chinese crackdown
People walk below a billboard ad of fantasy game Genshin Impact in Hong Kong. Source: Reuters
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  • Top gaming stocks have suffered falls as a leading Chinese tech business considers introducing age bans amid criticism from state media
  • An article run in Economic Information Daily on Tuesday labelled online games "spiritual opium" taking aim at Tencent's Honour of Kings game specifically
  • Tencent dropped more than 10 per cent during Tuesday's session, wiping $60 billion from its market cap and bringing down other gaming stocks
  • US stocks EA opened down as did Take-Two Interactive, while European stocks Ubisoft and Prosus are both trading in the red
  • Tuesday's saga follows China previously intervening in the growing education, property and technology sectors

Top gaming stocks have fallen as a leading Chinese tech business considers introducing age bans amid criticism from the country's state media.

An article run in Economic Information Daily, affiliated with State News Agency,  Xinhua, criticised online games by labelling them "spiritual opium".

The piece took aim at China's largest tech business Tencent Holdings and its Honour of Kings game, using it as an example of gaming addiction in children.

Tencent Holdings' share price plummeted amid the initial bad press, dropping over 10 per cent and wiping $60 billion off its market cap.

The company responded by floating the idea of banning minors who pretend to be older as well as shortening the number of hours users could play per day.

Children aged under 12 would be banned from using the game at all, while Tencent also called on the entire gaming industry to strengthen addiction measures.

Tuesday's saga was the latest example of state intervention in China, with other sectors such as education, property and technology all targeted with measures.

Meanwhile, following the state media criticism and Tencent's response, other Asian tech stocks began trading in the red, including rival Net Ease Inc.

Leading gaming business Activision Blizzard, which has a big audience in China, was down 3.5 per cent on the NASDAQ during trade on Tuesday.

The drop has been partially attributed to Activision's Chief stepping down in relation to the creator of Call of Duty facing a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Nevertheless, fellow US stocks EA and Take-Two Interactive also opened Tuesday's trading session in the red, while European gaming companies Ubisoft and Prosus also recorded drops during today's trade.

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