Tencent will mandate its PC and mobile players in China verify their age and identity against a police database starting next year.
The Chinese publisher had already introduced harsh police-verified age checks in Honor of Kings following the country’s crackdown on so-called gaming addiction. Not just this, other apparent concerns include myopia rates among children, which the government wants to reduce through tough new regulations.
In cities like Beijing, Honor of Kings requires local law verify a players age to keep underage players from long sessions. Tencent is also looking at facial recognition technology to restrict young players from binging.
Tencent plans to extend this to nine of its other popular games by the end of this year, before making it a requirement across its entire catalogue starting in 2019.
As China’s largest publisher, Tencent has been active in attempting to curb the Chinese government’s crackdown on gaming addiction. The company itself lost $20 billion in value over the freeze on new releases.
That block on approvals has only continued to get worse. Recently, a temporary “green channel” licenses for testing releases and monetisation was shut down shortly after being implemented.
As the Chinese games market continues to stagnate, many developers, publishers and consumers have turned to Steam as a relatively free platform to buy and sell games.