Beijing, Jan 9 (EFE).- Tencent, China’s largest online gaming operator, announced Tuesday that minors would be able to play for a maximum of 16 hours during the winter holidays and the Lunar New Year, from Jan. 22 to Feb. 24.
A statement published Tuesday said minors would be able to play between 8pm and 9pm local time on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and during the holiday period.
“We remind underage players to rationally organize their time and play in a moderate manner,” the statement read.
In addition to playtime restrictions, Tencent is also implementing a series of anti-video game addiction measures, such as real-name authentication, time-limited payments, and facial recognition for account activation.
This measure follows those already implemented last June by the major Chinese online gaming companies Tencent, NetEase and MihaYou, which announced the launch of a limited gaming calendar for minors during the summer holidays, supported by Artificial Intelligence.
China announced a new series of regulations in December to limit spending and rewards that encourage video games within the framework of measures to prevent addiction to this type of recreation.
The regulations published then by the National Press and Publications Administration – the regulatory body for print and digital publications – establish spending limits for online games.
In 2021, Chinese authorities restricted minors’ access to online video games to three hours a week with the stated goal of “effectively protecting the mental and physical health” and “healthy growth” of young people.
Regulations in 2021 made 2022 the most difficult year for the video game industry in China, with a contraction in revenue.
However, China’s video game market returned to growth in 2023, with a 13 percent increase in revenue, despite eSports users growing by only 0.1 percent and profits decreasing by 1.31 percent year-on-year.
The number of eSports players reached 488 million this year, in a country with a population of more than 1.4 billion people, according to official figures from Beijing. EFE