China: Blockade in the night gaming of minors

Tencent has made wider use of technology to prevent uncontrolled gaming of minors. The Chinese tech giant is implementing its “night patrol” plan, which aims to stop the use of various bays that children have so far used to circumvent the 2019 law that sets a limit on time children spend on gaming, as well as a limit on money they can spend on in-game purchases.

The law stipulates that gamers must be recorded with their identities in a national database, but children used adult identities as their own. Anyone who plays games at certain times will now be required to undergo facial recognition to prove that they are an adult.

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Tencent began testing the system from 2018 and now covers over 60 of the company’s games, mainly for mobile titles, as in China mobile gaming is much more popular than in the West. In addition, applying facial recognition technology is much easier to implement phones than on PCs or consoles.

There are, of course, concerns that the data collected can also be used for more cunning reasons. Remember that in China there is a social credit system, where citizens are paid or punished on the basis of their social behaviour. There is, of course, also a moral dilemma for developers – especially those who are not based in China – who will be called on to integrate these systems.

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