Remember those late nights where you would sneak your Gameboy or Nintendo DS under the bed covers and continue playing games when your parents thought you were going to sleep? Well, those days are now numbered for children in China as Tencent has just started using facial recognition technology to prevent them from playing games after their bedtime.
The move follows China’s increasing regulations on video games, especially those under a certain age. In 2019, the new restrictions require gaming companies in China to implement real name verification as well as limiting how long and how much people can spend on games. But as we all know, it can be pretty easy to circumvent an age verification system, so these restrictions weren’t quite strict enough.
Enter Tencent, who now require facial recognition verification in their mobile titles to verify their identity and how old they are, preventing those under a certain age from playing some games after 10pm and before 8am.
The move is in order to crackdown on China’s increasing issues with gaming addiction, which can easily start at a young age. Although this is certainly understandable, issues around privacy and freedom have been brought up including the infamous social credit system.
But the issues don’t end there, since Tencent is not just a Chinese company and they own large stakes in other studios across the world including Epic Games, Riot Games, Platinum Games etc. and so worries of systems like this migrating to westernized versions of the games have been raised, although still unlikely.
The facial recognition system has so far been implemented in 60 of Tencent’s games - all of which are on mobile - including popular titles like Game for Peace and Honor of Kings. However, it will continue to roll out into more of Tencent’s titles, likely including the hit multiplayer game League of Legends.
What do you think? How could this system be used in nefarious ways? Do you think something like this could eventually be implemented across the world? Or would there be too much of an uproar? Let us know your thoughts!