Tencent Limits Minors to 16 Hours Gaming Around Spring Festival
Tencent Games, one of the biggest gaming companies in the world, has released this year’s limits on minors’ gaming time during the upcoming school winter break, as part of continuing industry efforts to curb gaming addiction among children.
From Jan. 22 to Feb. 24, which includes the eight days of this year’s Spring Festival, users under 18 years old are only permitted to log into Tencent video games between 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and the public holidays, and play for a total of 16 hours, the company announced on Tuesday.
This amounts to an average of one hour of gaming time on each of the 16 gaming days allowed during this period.
Users will be subject to real-name verification, while suspicious accounts will have to verify their identities using facial recognition. According to an industry report released in December, around a third of Chinese student gamers register gaming accounts under other identities.
The announcement comes weeks after the State Press and Publication Administration proposed strict rules on the business models of China’s gaming companies, including curbs on users’ in-game spending.
Tencent Games, whose most popular game “Honor of Kings” boasts over 200 million registered users, said it will continue to restrict users under 12 years old from making in-game purchases in accordance with existing regulations.
According to the December industry report, 28.86% of minor users reduced their in-game spending in the past year, 17.07% increased their spending, and 54.07% saw no change.
Authorities have strengthened supervision on the gaming industry in recent years to combat gaming addiction, which has been blamed for increasing myopia rates and poor academic performance among children, including limiting minors to three hours of gaming per week since 2021.
That year, Tencent became the first major Chinese gaming company to release special restrictions on minors’ gaming time during the winter break. This year’s limit is two hours more than the permitted amount in 2023.
Tencent Games declined Sixth Tone’s request for comment.
Fang Na, the mother of a seventh-grade student in Yiwu, eastern Zhejiang province, welcomed restrictions introduced by gaming companies on minors’ playing time.
“Usually children’s gaming time is mainly controlled by parents, but it’s not very effective. The temptation to play games is too great for them,” Fang told Sixth Tone. “(The official limits) can effectively prevent children from being addicted to games and improve their self-discipline.”
Editor: Vincent Chow.
(Header image: VCG)