Date
28 July 2017
Tencen't King of Glory has more than 200 million registered players and has daily active players of over 50 million. Photo: Venture Beat
Tencen't King of Glory has more than 200 million registered players and has daily active players of over 50 million. Photo: Venture Beat

Will play time limit on young gamers hurt Tencent?

Chinese internet giant Tencent announced earlier this week that it will limit the hours children can play one of its most popular games — King of Glory.

Players aged under 12 will be allowed to log in for only one hour a day, and not after nine p.m. Older children will be allowed to play for two hours.

The move came after heavy criticism from parents and the state media.

A number of parents and teachers have expressed concern and frustration about children’s mobile game addiction.

In a recent case reported in June, a 13-year-old primary school student jumped from the fourth floor of an apartment building after being scolded for playing the game non-stop for more than 10 hours the night before an exam.

Fortunately, he only broke his leg. Yet, the first word he said to his father after the incident was if he could have his smart phone back.

The state mouthpiece People’s Daily has lashed out at the popular game, too.

All these have prompted Tencent to limit the hours for young players.

It’s estimated that only 3.5 percent of the players of the game are under 14, and nearly 90 percent are either college students or workers.

Therefore, the restriction won’t have material impact on Tencent’s gaming revenue.

Tencent launched King of Glory in November 2015, and it soon became the nation’s top mobile game. King of Glory has more than 200 million registered players and has daily active players of over 50 million. By comparison, Nintendo’s global sensation Pokemon Go had a peak daily active user base of about 45 million last year.

It is believed that King of Glory was a key element behind the jump in Tencent’s game-related revenue in the first quarter.

Some estimated this game alone will contribute nearly 30 billion yuan of sales to Tencent this year. And if this part of the business is spun off and listed, it could be worth 200 billion yuan.

King of Glory is a typical multiplayer interactive conflict game, or so-called PVP game. Also, players can confront rival players in five on five matches.

These features are very similar to the League of Legends launched by Riot Games six years ago. The game has more than 100 million players. (Tencent acquired Riot Games for US$230 million in December 2015.)

The success of King of Glory shows Tencent is very good at incremental innovations that prove to be very profitable.

Although similar to League of Legends, Tencent has added Chinese features to create King of Glory to cater to mainland players, such as the introduction of famous characters including the Monkey King.

In addition to virtual weapons and numerous accessories, players can also pay to change the skin color of the characters, which has proven to be extremely lucrative for Tencent.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 4

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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RT/RA

Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist

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