From September 29th the company began testing in Beijing and Shenzhen with thousands of randomly selected players. The aim is to confirm a player's identity and age, and whether gameplay limits should then apply.
It’s not clear exactly how Tencent will confirm the identity of users through facial recognition, what technology is being used and whether this can be used at a larger scale. Honor of Kings is one of China’s most popular games and has tens of millions of monthly active users.
According to Tencent, a survey of 600 players also showed concern amongst half of respondents about showing their face in the game.
Some checks have already been put in place. A real-name recognition system was integrated last month in efforts to stop users bypassing gameplay restrictions.
Such gameplay limits were implemented last year following criticism by the Chinese government about the game being ‘addictive’.
This means that children under 12 are restricted to one our of game time a day. Those aged between 12 to 18 meanwhile have been limited to two hours a day.
Whether the facial recognition technology will be rolled out to all Chinese players remains to be seen.
For now, Tencent is likely trying to get on the good side of the Chinese government and show that it is proactively engaging in measures to limit gameplay time amongst minors.
It comes as China’s Ministry of Education in part blamed games for myopia rates among children and adolescents, which it aims to reduce through new regulations.
You can read more about the challenges facing Chinese developers concerning the game licence freeze and new regulations here.