February 24, 2024

Tencent is implementing a strict 14-hour limit on young gamers as they head off on their four-week winter break from school.
It’s also warning adults against allowing children to use their accounts to circumvent these rules, telling adult users that the company will deploy facial recognition on accounts with suspicious activity. 
Details of this were shared in a post on Monday on Tencent Games‘ WeChat account. Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent owns both Tencent Games and WeChat. 
The warning comes after Beijing issued new rules last year to restrict online gaming among kids and teens.
“Elementary school kids have had their game time restricted for an entire semester. And now they’re eager to indulge in some gaming fun during their winter break and the upcoming Spring Festival,” Tencent’s post reads in Chinese. “Guess what? For this winter break, you can only play for a maximum of 14 hours!” the post continues.
The post included a calendar marking out in red which days have been approved for online gaming for Tencent Games’ young subscribers.
Only 14 days between January 17 to February 15 are pre-approved days for gaming, according to the calendar.
 
Tencent Games’ gaming time limits coincide with Beijing’s recent crackdown on gaming. Last August, the Chinese state agency National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) announced that online game providers may only offer one-hour time slots — from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. — to minors on Fridays, weekends, and official holidays.
In its WeChat post on Monday, the company did not share how it would deal with children who flout these rules. But the company did stress that it would prevent that from happening by deploying facial recognition software so that kids will not be able to use accounts held by adults to play.
Tencent Games is the world’s second-largest gaming company by revenue. According to its annual report, the company’s online games arm brought in about $24 billion in revenue in 2020, putting it neck in neck with Sony, which netted about $24.4 billion in gaming-related revenue in the same period. 
Tencent reported that minors only accounted for 0.7% of time spent on domestic games in September — the month after Beijing’s announced gaming restrictions — declining from 6.4% a year ago.  
Got a tip about Tencent or any other technology firm in Asia? Contact the reporter, Weilun Soon, on wsoon@insider.com.
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