Honour of Kings, one of China’s most popular video games, is testing the use of facial recognition to check the ages of users. The move is not an attempt to card kids who are too young to play the mature-themed game, but rather to limit their amount of play time.
The game’s publisher, internet giant Tencent, announced the move over the weekend, the BBC reports. The game, which pits players against each other in a fantasy world to wage multiplayer battle royales, is just too darn fun, apparently, and has been criticized for being too addictive for the children and potentially contributing to rising levels of nearsightedness. Plus, recent studies show that limiting screen time from TV and video games can improve brain function.
This is the third time that Tencent has tried to restrict use of the game for young gamers. Back in July 2017, it tried to limit kids under 12 to one hour of gameplay a day, and 13- to 18-year-olds to a maximum of two hours. That didn’t quite work, so the company then added a real-name registry to try and keep the kiddos honest. That didn’t discourage the game play, either, so now Tencent is adding a facial-recognition test in the hopes of stopping young players from gaming the time limit system.
The system will be tested on a random group of “thousands of players” in Shenzhen and Beijing and could, theoretically, help solve the problem. How the company plans to scan users’ faces and cross-reference them with age identification is still a bit of a mystery, and should scare the tuna salad out of privacy advocates.