Tencent will use facial recognition to curb excessive youth gaming in China

The Chinese mega-publisher is aiming to eliminate juveniles from playing games outside of a pre-established curfew.


Gaming addiction has been a serious problem in many countries in recent years. Some users will spend countless hours in front of PC at their homes or in internet cafes and the issue is also a problem with children. In an effort to reduce the amount of time underage players spend with their games, publisher Tencent will be leaning on its “Midnight Patrol” initiative. The initiative will use facial recognition to monitor and detect users who have played for too long or are gaming late into the night. 

End-users who refuse to submit to facial scanning or otherwise fail the check will be booted offline. User accounts are already linked to real names and databases against which the Midnight Patrol system checks. 

“We will conduct a face screening for accounts registered with real names and that have played for a certain period of time at night,” Tencent Games said. “Anyone who refuses or fails the face verification will be treated as a minor, and as outlined in the anti-addiction supervision of Tencent’s game health system, and kicked offline.”

The facial scanning feature will initially be tied to 60 different games, including Honor of Kings and Game for Peace. There are plans to expand the system further in the future. Tencent has reportedly been face-scanning its customers dating back to 2018. Tencent is the largest game publisher in China, with its releases accounting for 55% of the entire country's gaming market share in the first half of 2020. Honor of Kings has been the world’s most popular mobile game (by player count) for two years running.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 6, 2021 4:05 PM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Tencent will use facial recognition to curb excessive youth gaming in China

    • reply
      July 6, 2021 4:08 PM

      I'm surprised they weren't already doing that

    • reply
      July 6, 2021 6:15 PM

      -Make highly addictive game
      -Collect real names and facial scans
      -Police and boot addicted players

      • reply
        July 6, 2021 9:57 PM

        ????? = Contact those players individually to score them some opioids or ecstasy or what you need, dawg?

    • reply
      July 7, 2021 1:57 AM

      China is super worried about their future generations as QOL improves for millions and it becomes unsustainable with their changing demographics.

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        July 7, 2021 2:45 AM

        Also they are dependent on the youngest generation to keep working since the demographic shift will cause more pressure to be put on them. It’s pretty screwed up.

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        July 7, 2021 5:41 AM

        I saw and article over the weekend about the trend of younger Chinese people dropping out of the mainstream workforce in large cities to take lower paying work in rural areas. They are getting tired of the working 12 hour shifts 6 days per week. The end of the article was the saddest thing. This couple moved and were just so happy to be in a 6th story apartments outside the city because they could see trees from their window. It felt like the ending of a Phillip K Dick novel. Suddenly it seems like we blinked and now most of the world lives in the dystopian future we used to read about. Oh and did I mention that China has banned any articles or discussion about this trend?

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