Chinese video game publisher and investment company Tencent is going to begin verifying the identities of all those who play its games in China via police database, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The verification system will be in place to check players’ identities and ages against the databases to enforce playtime limits. Players will be asked to provide IDs that will then be used to ensure they’re using their real names and ages within the game. Limits will be imposed from there. Younger players will be limited to one hour of playtime daily, and will not be able to play the game between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. each day. Older players, ranging from 13 to 18 years old, will get two hours a day. So far, there doesn’t seem to be any restrictions in place for adults, though it’s too early to rule anything out about this intrusive system just yet.
Players will be required to verify their identities as part of a “health system,” as Tencent has dubbed the process via official statement, that it’s looking to “protect” younger players in the future. The verification system will be in place for 10 mobile games by the end of 2018, with the measures expanding to all titles in Tencent’s library by 2019. The company is currently testing facial recognition software in “Honor of Kings” to verify player ages and identities as well.
This system was first seen in place in the mobile title “Honor of Kings,” known to Western players as “Arena of Valor,” back in September. The game had become massively popular, prompting Chinese students to skip their educational responsibilities like homework to play the game instead – that’s one reason the system was implemented in the first place.
These types of restrictions have been in place in South Korea for some time, but players have found ways to get around the system. Tencent declined requests for comment on the matter and referred inquisitive parties to its official statement, promising additional details for later.