Tencent is planning to implement new disciplinary measures in China that would restrict the amount of time children can spend on its top-grossing mobile game: Honor of Kings. The new policy is Tencent’s response to complaints from teachers and parents over their kids’ addiction to the popular fantasy role-playing mobile game. Under the new rules, children under 12 years of age will be restricted to one hour of play time every day beginning on Tuesday. Meanwhile, children aged between 12 years and 18 years can play the game for up to two hours each day. It is not clear whether the new restriction applies to China only or if it includes other territories as well. Also, children below 12 years old will not be able to log in to their account after 9 p.m. once the new rules take effect. Tencent adds that it will also restrict how much money children can spend on the game.
Honor of Kings has been positively received by users in China that it has drawn over 200 million users to date. Tencent developed the game based on Chinese historical characters. Reuters reports that more than half of the game’s users are aged below 24 years, with more than 25% being comprised of children aged below 19 years, according to Jiguang, a mobile data firm in China. The firm also reported that Honor of Kings has grown its user base to 163 million over the last six months. The multiplayer battle game has also topped other mobile games in terms of revenue worldwide, according to mobile data intelligence firm App Annie. It is worth pointing out that Honor of Kings involves themes of violence, so it makes sense that parents in the country should raise the alarm over the growing addiction of younger users to the game.
Tencent, the biggest gaming and social media company in China, says it intends for the new measures to help dispel worries among parents as it notes that there are currently no rules preventing addiction to mobile games in the country. As part of that effort, the company also plans to upgrade its parental control system launched in early 2017. The control platform is designed to help parents keep track of their kids’ gaming activities online. Moreover, Tencent will implement a real-name registration requirement for all users. Individuals who fail to comply will be considered as 12 years old and below.