Underage gamers already need to get approval from their parents before logging into Tencent games. Now the company has launched a new scheme which allows their teachers to see how much time and money they are spending on games.
The Chinese gaming industry leader announced yesterday that more than 200,000 users have participated in a new scheme to prevent game addiction among underage gamers since the end of February. Tencent said the new scheme, “starry protection”, could be a testing ground for combating game addiction by creating synergy between the industry, families, and schools.
Teachers can create a group page and invite their students to join. After their students have opted in, the teachers have access to their gaming data, such as what games they are playing and how much time and money they have spent. Students can decide later if they want to be supervised or leave the groups.
“Starry protection could play a very crucial part in the protection of underage players mainly because it has expanded [game addiction prevention systems] to campuses,” Liao Xuhua, a gaming analyst at Beijing-based data consultancy Analysys, told KrASIA.
The starry protection scheme is the latest in a string of programmes introduced by Tencent since 2017 to limit underaged gamers’ exposure. Tencent came under scrutiny from public and government agencies after the proliferation of game addition among school students became a topic of debate.
Earlier this month, Tencent piloted a digital parental lock which requires players under the age of 13 to ask their guardians to unlock two of its most popular games, Honour of King and PUBG Mobile. Gamers under 12 can only play for one hour per day, and gamers between 12 and 18 years old are only allowed to play for 2 hours under Tencent’s game addiction prevention schemes.
But such game addiction prevention schemes are unlikely to have negative impacts on Tencent’s gaming revenue, Liao said. “Good protection schemes for underage players will lower the company’s regulatory, social and operational risks.”
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