Tencent, the largest games company in the world, is introducing a new real name identity system that will make it mandatory for players of its hit MOBA, Honor of Kings, to verify their age before logging in. The system has been put in place to easily identify players under the age of 18 and apply restrictions to those accounts in order to prevent minors becoming addicted to the game.
Gaming addiction has once again become a hot topic in China after concerns were raised by regulators, media and parents over children becoming overly engrossed in popular mobile games such as Tencent’s Honor of Kings. China’s game regulators have introduced measures, such as real name registration, to combat game addiction among minors in the past, but these primarily applied to PC games and could be easily fooled with fake information.
Tencent is now taking steps to strengthen anti addiction systems for mobile games after a recent notice from the Ministry of Education recommended that more be done about gaming addiction among minors. Tencent originally rolled out its real name registration system for Honor of Kings in May 2017, which required users to register with their real name and ID details before they could access the game. Users under the age of 18 would have their account subjected to anti addiction restrictions that were introduced in July 2017.
Tencent announced in September 2018 that it had strengthened its anti-addiction system by creating a new real name identity system. This system still requires users to register with their real name and ID, but the details are checked in real time against a national citizen database provided by the Ministry of Public Security. This closes some of the loopholes with the old system and allows for Tencent to properly verify a user’s age and apply an anti-addiction policy if required. Those that fail to verify through this system face their account being blocked.
Tencent is now rolling out this new system nationwide from November 1st after a successful trial in Beijing. The roll out will be done in six phases and is expected to be complete by this time next year. The company said that it plans to further strengthen its anti-addiction systems and is currently trialing a facial recognition technology which would require users to log in to the game and verify their age through the camera on a smartphone. Tencent has already confirmed that its new real name identification and anti-addiction system will be rolled out for all of its games and we expect China’s game regulators to push for anti-addiction systems across all mobile games.
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