Chinese game giant Tencent has responded to criticism about the alleged addictive nature of its mobile hit Honour of Kings by limiting the amount of time that can be spent playing it.
Reuters reports that Chinese parents and teachers have voiced concerns about the number of hours being spent on the MOBA, which currently boasts over 200m users and raked in over $800m in revenue in Tencent's first quarter. Honour of Kings is currently believed to be China's most active game.
As a result Tencent is introducing a one hour daily gameplay limit for the under 12s and a two hour limit for those aged between 12 and 18. The under 12s will also be prevented from logging onto the game after 9pm.
Restrictions to microtransaction spending are also planned, and an upgrade to the company's parental control platform is on the way. Real-name registration will also be required for all users.
"There are no rules to prevent indulgence in online games in China, but we decided to be the first to try to dispel parental worries by limiting play time and forcing children to log off," the studio said.
A separate Reuters report says that communist party mouthpiece People's Daily lambasted the game shortly after the announcement, describing it as poison”. This led to a share price dip of over four per cent – its biggest one-day decline in nearly a year and a half.
"The state media commentary calling for tighter industry regulation is a cooling signal for gaming stocks that could cause short-term declines,” BOCOM International Securities analyst Connie Gu said. Whether there would be revenue impact depends on what regulatory measures would follow.".