Game Distributor Sued Over Boy's Suicide
Zhang Xiaoyi died on Dec. 27, 2004, leaving behind a suicide note saying he wanted "to join the heroes of the game he worshipped," the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
It said Zhang's parents, who live in Tianjin, just east of Beijing, are seeking 100,000 yuan ($12,500) from Aomeisoft, the Chinese distributor of "Warcraft: Orcs and Humans."
The suit says Aomeisoft failed to include a warning that the game's
The Warcraft games are made by Blizzard Entertainment, a unit of Paris-based Vivendi Universal SA. Xinhua said a
The vice president of Aomeisoft, Bai Jie, told The Associated Press that he saw news reports about the lawsuit but that the company hasn't received any official court notice.
Bai said Zhang's parents were suing the wrong company, because Aomeisoft was set up in August, eight months after his death. Bai said he didn't know which distributor sold the game in 2004.
But the government has expressed concern about the violence and sexual content of some games. It has imposed curfews and time limits on children in Internet cafes and banned them near schools.
Also Friday, a newspaper said the
Violators could lose their licenses, the China Daily said.
Xinhua said Zhang played at a "game hall," but didn't say whether that was an Internet cafe, which would have been required to limit his time there to a few hours.
Several cities have clinics to treat what psychiatrists have dubbed "Internet addiction" in users, many of them children and teenagers, who play online games or surf the Web for days at a time.
Specialists at a
His parents' suit also calls on the distributor to put a warning on the game's packaging saying "playing games excessively harms health," the report said.
Bai, the Aomeisoft executive, said the company plans to add "anti-addiction warnings" to future games.
The Warcraft games have 2.5 million players in