China’s Tencent Holdings will require users to show proof of their ages and identities against police records in order to play its video games.
According to The Verge, the company announced that with the new system, users will need to register their Chinese national IDs in order to play any of its games. Ten mobile games will get the new verification system by the end of the year, and all games offered by Tencent will get the system by 2019.
Since last year, Tencent has prohibited gamers who are 12 and under from playing more than an hour a day, and established a curfew of 9 p.m. Those who are 13 to 18 can play up to two hours a day. This new system aims to enforce these existing guidelines.
The move comes after state-run People’s Daily called Arena of Valor “poison.” And President Xi Jinping warned that too many children were nearsighted due to video games and said the government would take action. Beijing then ruled to ban new games, costing Tencent up to $1.5 billion in lost revenue, and its stock prices have fallen almost 40 percent this year.
As a result, in September, Tencent revealed that it is restructuring for the first time in six years as it faces tougher internet regulation. The Chinese internet giant announced that Tencent executives will consolidate three content business groups to one unit and implement a new group for cloud and smart industries. In addition, the company will “further explore the integration of social, content and technology that is more suitable for future trends, and promote the upgrade from consumer internet to industrial internet,” and will also create a technology committee to help bolster its research and development, as well as promote collaboration and innovation.
And earlier this month it was reported that Tencent wanted to expand into industries such as healthcare and connected cars to move beyond gaming.