The crackdown on minors gaming in China has made headlines already, and it looks like the trouble for Chinese kids is far from over. This week, gaming giant Tencent announced that as part of their ongoing acquiescence to the government’s decree that gaming is dangerous, they will be limiting Chinese kids to a total of 14 hours of gaming over the next four weeks.
Not only will kids have to ration their gaming time, but they will also only be allowed to log into Tencent-owned games on certain days. The publisher has provided a handy calendar showing exactly which days they will allow minors to use their products, and which days kids will have to find other methods of entertainment, or maybe just other games to play.
Furthermore, the company has promised to employ facial recognition technology to ensure adults are not allowing their kids to use alternative accounts to circumvent the rules around gaming. The news follows last year's restrictions, which included the Chinese government announcing that online game providers were to limit minors to a single hour of play, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., on Fridays, weekends, and official holidays.
Crackdown on online gaming continues
There is no official word yet on what punitive measure will be employed against kids who attempt to flout the rules, with Tencent having the option to disable accounts if need be. Equally, these new decrees from the government won’t be helping a company that made nearly $25bn from online gaming in 2020 alone, and come as part of a wider crackdown on the tech industry from government officials.
Their post on WeChat also claims some users will have to pass a facial recognition test every time they want to log into a game, which suggests these somewhat draconian new measures are not just impacting Chinese youngsters. There are warnings for ‘brothers and sisters’ that they are taking a risk if they lend their account to younger siblings too.
How effective this will be overall is hard to judge, with offline gaming still popular and a number of theoretical ways to get around the new rules, but there is no doubt kids in China have seen a tangible attempt to prevent them from gaming ‘too much’, in the eyes of their political leaders. Given that this is the same government who banned ‘effeminate’ imagery last year, it is impossible to know what will come under fire next, but it’s fair to say at least a few youngsters in that part of the world have just had their holiday plans ruined by this announcement.