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Tencent policing gaming time as China fights game addiction

Tencent Games
Logo of Chinese game developer Tencent Games
Tencent Games

It seems like Tencent will be upping their policing game significantly as of 2019, as China's crackdown on what they consider gaming addiction will result in children under 12 years of age being allowed a single hour of gaming daily.

Apparently, children above that age will be able to indulge for two hours, albeit with a caveat of not being able to play during night time curfew hours. The move is a direct result of China's concern over gaming addiction and myopia, i.e. nearsightedness, a problem that apparently alerted the Chinese government to take these measures.

Unfortunately for Tencent, the government's measures didn't bode well for the company, leading to some heavy financial losses for the Chinese publishing giant. Their stake in Epic and PUBG Corp, to name but a few, makes it easy to disregard these as a minor blip but $20 billion is most certainly no blip.

In fact, market research firm Newzoo's recent report shows that the mobile gaming sector has seen a disappointing performance in the first half of 2018, with second quarter mobile revenue dropping by 6.5 per cent compared to the first. Most of the drop was blamed on the aforementioned regulations and as a result, the company slashed their global games forecast for 2018. To be fair, consoles and PC did way better, but it still wasn't enough to fully offset these losses.

As for Tencent, they have been tightening age restrictions in their mobile game Honour of Kings for a while now, having introduced them back in July 2017. They've recently tweaked their registration system to use real names, so as to ensure that the rules are being followed.

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To make matters even more sinister, the company is said to have held trials for face recognition software, which would theoretically help in that respect. Nevertheless, I'm sure there would be some technical hurdles to overcome, which could cost Tencent even more money but ultimately - it's pretty pointless to speculate until we see where it all ends up.

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