Tencent has introduced facial recognition trials in its mobile title Honour of Kings, in order to check the age of those playing it.
The unique take of age-gating has been in the trial stages since September 29, with Chinese users subject to a level of scrutiny and control not seen elsewhere in the world. The new age check is on top of limited screen time for younger players, and a system requiring real names to be used in the game.
This is the latest move in a line of steps being taken by the Chinese government and its departments to tackle public health issues, with the onus being placed on publishers to implement technologies and strategies. One other related campaign aims to reduce myopia across the population – with a focus on young people – by restricting screen time.
The Chinese gaming market as a whole has been rocked by a lack of new licenses being awarded – which has in turn directly impacted Tencent’s usual ability to make lots of money. In fact, the company reported its first loss in 13 years and subsequent plans to restructure the company as a direct result of these new initiatives.
Meanwhile, other teething issues related to gaming in China have seen Twitch blocked pretty much the moment it started getting popular, and Nintendo’s Online service not functioning thanks to its usage of (blocked) Google servers. Gaming in China sounds like an ordeal.