China to recognize video gaming as official profession

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The Chinese government is planning to recognize video gaming as an official profession, the latest in a series of moves to reignite the country’s gaming sector following a nine-month freeze on game approvals.

Chinas Occupation Skill Testing Authority (OSTA) on Jan. 25 released a list of new job titles (in Chinese), covering a variety of fields, from artificial intelligence (AI) to internet of things (IoT). Cloud computing engineers, big data analysts, and professional gamers are included as job titles.

The government body created the list following an internal evaluation. It is open for public comment until Thursday.

The Chinese government restarted video game approvals in late December following a nine-month moratorium on the publication of new titles. So far, Chinas broadcasting regulator has issued four batches of video game licenses in the past month, totaling nearly 260 gaming titles. Most were granted to small- and medium-sized gaming companies. However, gaming giants Tencent and its rival NetEase were granted licenses in the latest batch of approvals.

According to OSTA, prospective professional gamers, also known as e-sports players, will participate in gaming competitions, work as training partners, provide data analysis for the industry, and design new games. Another included job title is professional gaming operator, which will involve marketing new and existing game titles.

The OSTA falls under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and provides technical guidance for employment and vocational training. It is also responsible for organizing qualification tests around the country.

Chinas gaming industry has had its share of financial woes over the past year, as a slew of small and medium-sized companies laid off workers. According to Jiemian (in Chinese), employees of the company that runs the Chinese version of popular gaming media Imagine Games Network (IGN) accused it of not paying their wages as a result of “heavy losses exaggerated by the long gaming winter.