In 2019, Chinese multinational Tencent will begin checking the identities of people who play its games against police records.
This news comes after a “healthy gaming” system was implemented into mobile MOBA Arena of Valor (also called Honor of Kings in China) in September this year. The system cross-checks players of the game against a Chinese police database in order to ensure younger people weren’t spending too much time with the game.
Presumably, the “healthy gaming” initiative was successful, since Tencent is going to be expanding the program to nine of its other mobile properties this year, with a view for the system to eventually cover all of its gaming properties. There’s something of a moral panic in China right now about the health of its young people in relation to the amount of time they spend gaming; Tencent’s decision is in direct response to a state announcement calling for it to exercise greater control over the time its customers spend playing, as well as the volume of games being released.
Here’s how the “healthy gaming” system works. ID checks will be performed for all players and cross-referenced with police records, presumably to check the age of the player. If a person is under 12 years old, they’ll only be able to play Tencent games for one hour a day, while children over the age of 12 will be able to play for two hours.
The introduction of such strict regulations will come as a blow, not only to Tencent but to other gaming companies who were hoping China’s new gaming approvals freeze would thaw soon. The country is currently designing a new gaming approvals process, and as a result, no new games are being approved for release in China. This has hit Tencent hard, as the company has lost 28% of its share value in 2018 alone. If the gaming freeze continues, it’s hard to see how Tencent won’t make losses next year, too.
How do you feel about the gaming freeze in China? Would you be OK with just two hours of gaming a day? Let us know in the comments below!