Monday , March 20 2023

Tencent to extend juvenile authentication to all games


HONG KONG: Tencent Holdings will extend a dependency-prevention system for minors in all its games, the company said on Monday as the industry faces increased government control.

A "healthy gaming" system that includes time limits for day-to-day play and can perform ID checks with facial recognition, which is already used in Honor of Kings's most popular smartphone game, will be applied to nine other mobile games this year and will expand all Tencent games next year, the company said in a post at WeChat's official account.

The move signals Tencent's latest attempt to respond to the Chinese government's call for stricter controls to combat addiction to gambling and increase listening to young people. A state announcement in August urged the publicity regulator to check the number of new online video games and limit the amount of time that young Chinese people spend playing such games.

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

Without approval for in-app purchases, Tencent has been unable to earn money from some of its highly popular games, such as PlayNunknown Battlegrounds Mobile (PUBG Mobile), which a game calculated by CLSA could yield annual revenue 1 billion of a revenue-generating license.

Tencent shares, which tumbled 28 percent this year to knock $ 138 billion of the company's value, fell 3.7 percent on Monday, dropping a 2 percent decline in the Hang Seng index.

Tencent in September announced the plan to add the real name registration system for new players to the honorable Kings mobile battle game. The fantastic role-playing game has proven so popular that Tencent has introduced restrictions on playing for children in July last year, responding to the criticism of the state media about toy reliance.

Children aged 12 years and under are allowed one hour a day for the game except for the time of the ban from 21:00 to 8:00. Minors over the age of 12 can play for two hours a day.

Tencent said on Monday it tried to identify with face recognition for new players in Beijing and Shenzhen in September. Since October, they have verified the identity information of existing users and are expected to complete the process by the end of this month.

(Reference by Sijia Jiang, Ed. By David Goodman)

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