China's Tencent to limit children's playtime
By Cai Mengxiao

2017-07-02 20:24 GMT+8

Children under twelve will be restricted from playing 'Honor of Kings,' as part of disciplinary measures, the developers said on Sunday. 

It is a hugely popular fantasy role-playing mobile game developed by China’s Internet giant Tencent.  

The company announced it would limit children to play the game for no more than an hour a day starting Tuesday, in an attempt to prevent them from online game addiction.

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Login access for the game will also be shut down for the young players after 9 p.m. to curb their playtime further, said the Internet behemoth in a statement. 

Adolescents over twelve years old are allowed to play the game for two hours a day with those exceeding the time limit to be spontaneously forced offline, Tencent said.  

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“Despite its popularity, Honor of Kings would also exert negative impact on the minors who fail to control themselves and play overtime,” development team behind the mega-hit game said. 

They have come up with the efforts to diminish such concerns though there are yet no specific national regulations to deal with the mobile game addiction, they added. 

According to an unnamed Tencent official, parents will be enabled to proceed with real time supervision on their children and immediately shut down the game access by registering on a surveillance website, which was launched in February this year by the company and expected to be updated soon as part of the disciplinary move.

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Promising to improve the real-name registration system of the game, Tencent said it will also cap the amount of money children could spend while playing to curb the in-game extras purchasing extravagance.

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“We will make continuous efforts with all walks of the society to create a healthy cyberspace for adolescents,” noted Tencent, which also called on parents to spend more time with their kids to have them feel the warmth of family.

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The regulatory measures, which are believed to be the strictest so far in the domestic game industry, came after the game raised widespread public concerns over its negative influence on teenagers with many reported to be addicted due to its explosive popularity.

An 11-year-old primary school student from eastern China’s Zhejiang Province has spent over 38,000 yuan (5,605 US dollars) within two months last year to buy weapons and upgrade character on the blockbuster.

Xiao Long, a 12-year-old boy has drained family savings while playing the game. /Internet Photo

Another 12-year-old boy from Haikou, southern China's Hainan Province also stirred up backlash on China’s social media in May this year after exhausting his family's saving of 40,000 yuan (5,900 US dollars) to have online webcasting anchors help improve his playing proficiency.

Honor of Kings, which sees players battle mythical beasts in a fantasy landscape is essentially a mobile replica of the world’s most played game, League of Legends (LOL) created by US developer Riot Games.

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Launched in November 2015 by Tencent’s Timi Studio, Honor of Kings has amassed over 200 million registered users with adolescents accounting for almost half of the users, as per the 2016 annual report of the Shenzhen-based company.

As one of the world’s highest grossing iOS game in March and April, the mobile multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game represented 47 percent of the internet giant’s 2016 revenue and made about three billion yuan (some 441 million US dollars) in gross revenue for each month of the first quarter of 2017.