Date
21 November 2018
Tencent is taking more steps in response to the Chinese government's call to combat gaming addiction among children. Photo: Reuters
Tencent is taking more steps in response to the Chinese government's call to combat gaming addiction among children. Photo: Reuters

Tencent to expand underage ID check to all games

Chinese social media and gaming giant Tencent Holdings said on Monday that it will expand an addiction-prevention system for underage gamers to all of its games, Reuters reports.

A “healthy gaming” system that includes time limits on daily play and can perform facial recognition-aided ID checks, already in use on Tencent’s most popular Honour of Kings smartphone game, will be applied to nine other mobile games this year and expanded to cover all Tencent games next year, the company was quoted as saying in a post on its official WeChat account.

The move marks Tencent’s latest bid to meet the Chinese government’s call for tighter controls to combat gaming addiction and increasing near-sightedness among young people, the report noted.

A state announcement in August called for the publishing regulator to control the number of new online video games and to limit the amount of time young Chinese spend playing such games.

Tencent, the world’s largest gaming company by revenue, has run into regulatory roadblocks this year and Chinese authorities have not approved any new games since March.

Without approval for in-app purchases Tencent has been unable to make money from some of its hugely popular games, such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile (PUBG Mobile).

In September, Tencent announced a plan to add real-name registration system for new gamers on its mobile battle game Honour of Kings.

The fantasy role-playing battle game has proved so popular that Tencent introduced restrictions to playing time for children in July last year in response to criticism by state media over game addiction.

Children aged 12 and under are allowed one hour a day on the game, while minors older than 12 can play for two hours a day.

Tencent said in the Monday post that it tried out facial recognition-aided identity verification for new players in Beijing and Shenzhen in September.

Since October, the company has been verifying existing users’ ID information. The process is expected to be completed by the end of this month.

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RC

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