New law may double video game charges

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 January, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 January, 1994, 12:00am

VIDEO game centres are planning to double game charges following the enforcement of a new law last month.

The market had suffered a 30 per cent drop in returns because of the limitation on the types of games under the new legislation, said Licensed Amusement Game Centres Trade Association chairman Lam Kwok-tung.

Hundred of centres would go out of business.

Under the Amusement Game Centres Ordinance, games featuring gambling, explicit sex or excessive violence are banned.

Mr Lam said more than 20 per cent of their games had been removed, driving many customers away.

To compensate for the loss, the 400-member trade association has proposed doubling fees to $2.

Although many centres are importing new Japanese models to attract customers, Mr Lam said they had shelved plans to install hi-tech devices such as virtual reality products, because of the high cost.

Virtual reality video games consist of a headphone and a headset, and allow the players to be immersed in a three-dimensional environment.

The machines were first introduced to Hong Kong by the Virtual Reality Club last February.

A recent Edinburgh University study found that some types of headsets for games could damage users' eyesight, but Virtual Reality Club general manager Donald Ngan said the research concerned an American product and did not apply to their British-made machines.

''Basically, the design of the American headsets are totally different from ours. The VR Club's system is with detailed alignment facilities and a relatively low-power magnification lens, which would not suffer the inherent problems of the test equipment.'' Mr Ngan said their games were preset to finish within four minutes, while the experiment in the Edinburgh University study lasted for about 20 minutes.