Minors in China will no longer be able to play as many of their favorite video games as they want like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds or the League of Legends. The Chinese giant Tencent, number one in the world in video game billing, goes a step further to fight addiction and announces that it will restrict the time that children and teenagers spend playing all their video games. To do this, soon will request players personal information and verify the identity with a database of the police, as reported by the company in an official statement.
Children under 12 years old can only play one hour a day, and whenever it is before nine o'clock at night and after eight o'clock in the morning. Players who are between 12 and 18 years old will have a maximum of two hours a day to enjoy video games. "In order to better protect the health of children, Tencent will use this proven and effective measure against addiction in all online games," the technology giant said in the statement.
It is not the first time that Tencent takes measures to stop the addiction of minors. In July 2017, already limited the daily use time of your video game King of Glory for prevent the youngest from becoming addicted. But this announcement affects a much larger number of citizens: China has almost 600 million players, as explained the technology portal The Verge. That is, a figure equivalent to almost twice the population of the United States.
The Chinese giant will apply this restriction later this year in 10 games for the mobile phone and, from 2019, in all its video games. To be able to use any of the Tencent games, players will have to register with their Chinese identity card. The company, therefore, will have to review the age of millions of players with this new system.
From now on, in addition to compiling all the user's gaming habits, Tencent will also store personal information of minors. Therefore, the initiative may pose an attack on the privacy of children and adolescents.
But for the company, the priority is to continue working to ensure the health of children and adolescents: "The industry promotes relevant technologies and experiences and works together with society to protect the healthy growth of children." Even so, this measure will not prevent minors from borrowing the phones of their parents and other adults.
The videogame King of Glory it's "poison"
In recent years, Tencent has received harsh criticism for the addiction of minors to some of their video games. For example, the People's Daily newspaper, owned by the Chinese government, affirmed in 2017 that the game King of Glory it was "poison" and a "drug" that harmed adolescents, according to the BBC.
The company, which owns WeChat and is a major shareholder of Spotify and Snapchat, gets most of its revenue from this industry. In fact, it is the company with more billing derived from the world's video games ahead of Sony or Microsoft. In 2017, it had revenues of 18,100 million dollars, some 16,000 million euros, according to Newzoo, a market analysis firm specializing in videogames and eSports. However, according to The Verge, the prices of its shares have fallen by almost 40% this year.
Tencent also received pressures from the authorities last summer, after President Xi Jinping indicated that many children suffered serious optical problems from playing too much video games. The government claimed to be taking action on the matter and decided to stop granting large technology licenses for sales for their video games. This break, according to the same newspaper, cost Tencent a loss of some 1,500 million dollars, some 1,300 million euros, since he could not release some games he had developed.
China has become the largest video game market in the world, surpassing such important countries in this sector as Japan and the United States. But the problem of addiction is also present outside the country. More and more states are concerned about addiction to video games. International studies indicate that up to 9% of people who play around the world suffer addiction to video games. This year the World Health Organization (WHO) has included, for the first time, videogame disorder as a mental illness in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).