China’s Tencent uses facial recognition to prevent kids from playing games at night

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Chinese game conglomerate Tencent has introduced controversial tools to curb nighttime underage gaming activity in mainland China. The new system leverages facial recognition technology to detect and verify whether an individual is a minor and prevent them from playing games during prohibited hours.

The company is reportedly calling this system “Midnight Patrol”.. It aims to combat game addiction for individuals under the age of 18 in China. This system basically requires all gamers to comply with facial recognition systems. Tencent tools Analyze an individual’s face and match it with a photo The name stored in the database to detect minors.

For those who don’t know, dating back to 2019, the Chinese government has passed a national “anti-poisoning” regulation to prevent minors from playing excessive games at night. Regulations limit individual play time, curfew, and in-game purchase limits for individuals under the age of 18. In addition, the law restricted gamers under the age of 18 from playing the game from 10 pm to 8 am, limiting weekday play time to just 1.5 hours. 3 hours on weekends and holidays.

Following this, Tencent says that many gamers used “wrong tricks” to game the system and play it at banned times anyway. That’s why Tencent aims to use a midnight patrol system to prevent minors from accessing the game at night.

“People who refuse or fail facial recognition are treated as minors and kicked offline, as outlined in Tencent’s Game Health System Addiction Control Director.” The company said in a statement.

“We will perform face screening for accounts that are registered under their real names and have been played for a period of time at night. Those who refuse or fail face recognition will be treated as minors and will be supervised by Tencent’s Game Health System Dependence Countermeasures. You will be kicked offline as outlined. “ Tencent has been added.

The midnight patrol system is currently in place in China and will initially be active in over 60 games, including popular games such as Honor of Kings, Honor of Kings, and Peace Elite. The company plans to add more games to the list in the coming days. In addition, it is reported that the popular League of Legends titles of Riot Games, in which Tencent owns a large stake, are also included in the list.

So, as you can imagine, it’s going to be a pretty tough situation for Chinese children. Conversely, game addiction is a significant phenomenon among minors, so it may actually be a wise move by Tencent. However, when it comes to facial recognition systems, there is always an element of privacy, especially when talking about children. Therefore, if Tencent does not act responsibly, the company may face a serious backlash in the coming weeks.