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A brand-new Tencent ID system is rolling out in China next year on each of the company’s mobile games. The ID system employs facial recognition software in order to verify the person playing the game. Tencent is hoping that it will help to reduce the amount of time youngsters (12 and under) spend playing mobile games every day, with the software only allowing up to one hour of play each day.
Tencent began trialing its ID system back in October on Honor of Kings. This was in an effort to combat the criticism Tencent came under for the number of children addicted to Honor of Kings. The Wall Street Journal originally ran the story, claiming that “Tencent… will verify the identities of all its videogame players to sharply restrict online play time for youths in China, including limiting children 12 and under to one hour of play daily.” In an effort to make the restrictions more serious for those who try to play for longer than one hour a day, the Tencent ID system will “check players’ identities and ages against police databases.” China is serious about restricting the amount of time children play videogames, especially in a rising climate of purported videogame addiction.
The Tencent ID system will be rolled out for ten games by the end of the year. Tencent plans to roll out the system on all of its games by the end of 2019. The Wall Street Journal claims that “the restrictions are the most comprehensive play limits ever imposed” in China, “and come as China’s authoritarian government tightens its oversight of videogames, which have been attacked by state media for their addictive quality and sometimes violent content.” The check for real names and age is more than has been seen previously in prior counter-measures
Currently, on consoles, parents can set play limits on each account as they see fit, and similar features exist on smartphones, too. Tencent’s use of facial recognition software, coupled with the use of players’ real names and police checks on identities and age however, make this a bold move. An hour a day isn’t much, after all.