Huge smartphone game sets play time limits, to curb mobile addiction
China’s most popular game is now limiting play time for younger players, amid reports of increasing game addiction.
Tencent’s smash hit smartphone app, Honour of Kings (also known as King of Glory), is restricting kids under the age of 12 to just one hour of game time per day. They will also not be permitted to sign in after 9 p.m., Tencent said.
Those between 12 to 18 will be limited to two hours of game time.
Honour of Kings has a staggering 163 million monthly users. It was launched only in 2015.
In comparison, League of Legends, which has swept the world in popularity, has some 100 million monthly users. It’s also owned by Tencent.
The new move may affect a large portion of Honour of Kings‘ player base those that are honest about their age declarations in the game, at least.
Some Chinese citizens however, were skeptical of the clampdown.
“How are they going to identify and confirm the players’ age? Surely they can just secretly register with their parents name if that is needed?” said an internet user on Weibo.
“They can just use a fake ID to register,” another user chimed in.
A “drug” harming teenagers.
According to the Beijing News, more than 57 percent of the game’s players are primary school children, who are no older than 12. Tencent has denied this, however, saying that the proportion of players under 12 amounts to 3.62 percent.
Tencent’s stocks plunged as much as 5.1 percent, taking off $17.5 billion of its market cap, after Chinese state media referred to Honour of Kings as a “drug” that was harming teenagers.
“This game which has been referred to as ‘poison’, has shown its consequences…,” the state-run People’s Daily said in a commentary, referring to an incident where a 13-year-old jumped off a building after being scolded for playing the game.
A 17-year-old gamer in China’s Guangdong region had earlier this year suffered a stroke after spending 40 consecutive hours playing Honour of Kings.
Honour of Kings became the world’s highest grossing game this year, with an estimated revenue of around $882 million in its first quarter alone, according to China Daily.
In February, China introduced draft legislation that aims to ban minors from playing online games between midnight and 8 a.m.