China – The internet and social media giant wants to curb addiction to its most popular game.
The Chinese technology group is limiting the length of time users can play its popular role-playing mobile game Honour of Kings, based on age.
Players under the age of 12 will be able to use the app for one hour per day and will be unable to access the game after 9:00pm. Older players aged 12–18 will be allowed to play for up to two hours per day.
With more than 200m users, Honour of Kings is Tencent’s most successful app, and recently became the world’s highest-grossing mobile game. Chinese media has been highly critical of it. The People’s Daily, published by the Chinese Communist Party, has described the game as ‘poison’ and a ‘drug’.
‘There are no clear regulations to guard against mobile-gaming addiction in China, but we have decided to take the lead to try to dispel parents’ concerns by limiting play time and forcing children to log off,’ Tencent said in a statement.
Such is the draw of the game that a black market in adult accounts has emerged following the implementation of the restrictions. Tencent has announced that it will launch Honour of Kings in the European and US markets in the near future – a move that might be a response to the £11.8bn ($15.1bn, €13.2bn) slide in the company’s market value after its decision to limit children’s playing time.