Tencent is digitally locking games like Honor of Kings and PUBG Mobile from those under the age of 13.
GamesIndustry.biz is reporting that Tencent is using facial recognition technology to digitally lock out anyone under the age of 13 from playing PUBG Mobile or Honor of Kings. The only way to access the games if you are under 13 years of age is to get a parent to unlock it for you.
The digitally lock applies to digital restrictions rolled out across 12 cities in China, including Beijing, Chengdu, and Changchun, as reported by Xinhuanet.
The outlet also reports that the change comes amid a change in software access policy by Tencent that originally went into effect back in 2017, where Tencent decided only those above the age of 12 could play for more than an hour a day. The limitation extended beyond just preventing those under 13 from playing the games, though. There’s also a time restriction on when young kids are allowed to play, putting blocks on access to games between 9:00pm and 8:00am the next morning.
Part of the reason for the restrictions is to combat an alleged epidemic of myopia among Chinese youth, as well as to limit damaging behavior among young kids, as explained in the GamesIndustry.biz article…
“Tencent is using technology such as facial recognition and player ID checks to ascertain the ages and identities of those playing Honour of Kings and other titles in China. In addition, it has already imposed limits on how long young players can play the game, and imposed rules for streaming its game content prohibiting things like violence, information about gambling or pornography, national politics, or other ‘damaging behavior.’”
This is in addition to China also running militarized video game addiction camps to help reduce the attachment some kids and teenagers have to the internet and electronic entertainment.
It appears that in connection with the State measures put into place to combat addiction, companies like Tencent are taking things a step further to enforce mandatory restrictions on who can access their games and when.
As Tecent continues to grow and expand its influence both inside and outside of China, it’s easy to see why so many gamers are worried about its tentacles reaching the West with controlling interest in Epic Games, Riot Games, Ubisoft, and Take-Two to name a few. Things look even more grim when you realize the corporation can decide who gets to play their games, for how long, and when.