On Monday, Tencent Holdings announced that it has decided to expand an addiction-prevention system for underage gamers which will come into effect on all of its games because the industry is facing increased government scrutiny.
Tencent, in a post on its official WeChat account said this- “ A “healthy gaming” system is an environment that makes sites that time limits are set on a daily play and can be used to ensure facial recognition-aided ID checks, which is already being used by Tencent’s most popular Honour of Kings smartphone game. The same feature will be applied to nine other mobile games this year and will also expand to all Tencent games next year.”
This move by Tencent marks its latest attempt to meet the Chinese government’s call to bring about tighter controls in order to combat gaming addiction and increasing hear-sightedness among young people. In August, a state announcement was called for which published regulations to control the number of new online video games which are released and to limit the amount of time the young Chinese are spending playing such games.
Tencent is considered to be the world’s largest gaming company by revenue and it has encountered regulatory roadblocks this year and the Chinese authorities have not approved of any new games since March.
Without the approval from the Chinese authorities, it is not possible to give in-app purchases. Tencent hasn’t been able to make money from many of its extremely popular games, such as Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile (PUBG Mobile), which a game that was estimated to generate up to $1 billion in annual revenue if it was provided with a monetisation license.
Due to the lack of approval, shares in Tencent have slid down by 28 percent this year, which has resulted in a knock-off of the company’s market value by a whopping $138 billion (roughly Rs. 10 lakh crores).
In September, Tencent announced its plan to add the real-name registration system for its new gamers on its mobile battle game Honour of Kings. The fantasy role-playing battle game has proven to be extremely popular, because of which Tencent introduced restrictions to playing time for children in July last year as a response to criticism by state media over game addiction in children.
Children aged 12 and below only are allowed one hour a day on the gaming console that also includes a curfew period of 9 pm to 8 am. Children older than 12 were allowed to play for two hours a day.
On Monday, Tencent said that it has tried out the facial recognition-aided identity verification for new players in Beijing and Shenzhen since September. Since October, they have been trying to verify the user ID of existing users using the information provided by them and this process is expected to be complete by the end of this month.