July 9, 2021

The ‘midnight patrol' in China is cracking down on young gamers

The ‘midnight patrol' in China is cracking down on young gamers.

Tencent, a Chinese gaming behemoth, is deploying facial recognition technology to prevent youngsters from playing between the hours of 22:00 and 08:00.

According to the company, the "midnight-patrol" technology will prevent "tricks" from avoiding the government curfew, which was implemented in 2019 with a cap on how much young gamers could spend on in-game transactions.

Gamers must register with their official IDs, which are linked to a national database, to avoid the restrictions. However, it has been reported that minors have been using adults' IDs instead of their own. Anyone who has been playing for a specific amount of time will now be subjected to a facial scan to verify their age.

Tencent began testing the system in 2018, and it now covers over 60 titles from the world's largest gaming publisher. Many of Tencent's most popular games, such as Honour of Kings and Game for Peace, are designed for mobile devices; mobile gaming in China is significantly more popular than in the West. Facial recognition on a phone is easier to instal than on a computer or video game console. And age checks using cameras are already being suggested to verify users' age for online sales of adult products.

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