The mobile game, which is known as “Arena of Valor” in the west, is a massively popular game in China which has similar elements to “League of Legends” and “Dota 2.” Limiting children’s playtime is a particular concern for holding company and publisher Tencent due to China’s increasing restrictions in the gaming market. Last month, Tencent began tracking users’ playtime via requiring players to enter their real names and thus identifying minors.
As of Sept. 29, Tencent is using the new facial recognition software on a trial basis for “some 1,000 new users in Beijing and Shenzhen,” according to the South China Morning Post.
China is increasingly restricting new online games allowed on the market over concerns of how much time its citizens, particularly children, are spending playing games and have even raised concerns that increased screentime is damaging to eyesight, and thus causing myopia. Even for a company as powerful as Tencent, the public health campaign in China targeting games has been detrimental.
Last week, Tencent added a feature to a “popular video app” that blurs the image if the user’s face is too close to the screen, according to the South China Morning Post. This would appear to be an attempt to avoid further eyesight-damage claims.
Tencent released a statement on its new software (translation courtesy of GamesIndustry.biz) :
“On the basis of complying with the relevant policies and regulations of the competent authorities, Tencent will continue to carry out more active explorations, constantly improve the health online protection system for minors covering online games before, during and after the event, and work together with the community to promote healthy games.”