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Children Playing Games At Night? Not Anymore, Tencent Is Watching

Big Brother is watching, or rather, Tencent is watching.

The China-based gaming giant has launched a controversial new technology to stop children and teenagers from excessively playing games throughout the nighttime. How? They have unleashed a time-sensitive facial recognition system that will identify minors who play the game between 10pm to 8am, which is when they should be asleep.

Tencent’s new facial verification system is linked with big data from the central public security system, and it is officially dubbed “Midnight Patrol”.

In a statement via Sixth Tone, Tencent Games said:

“We will conduct a face screening for accounts registered with real names and that have played for a certain period of time at night.

Anyone who refuses or fails the face verification will be treated as a minor, and as outlined in the anti-addiction supervision of Tencent’s game health system, and kicked offline.”

This new tech comes as the issue of gaming addiction among minors continue to be a massive problem in China, which lead to the government introducing several measures to curb the problem back in 2019. These measures included registration that requires real names, barring children from playing games between 10pm and 8am., and capping purchases on gaming platforms.

Tencent is initially launching the facial recognition tech in over 60 popular games, including Honor Of Kings, Game For Peace and more. They are also planning to incorporate more titles in the future. Tencent already began testing the use of facial recognition software all the way back in 2018, in order to verify the real ages of users living in the cities of Beijing and Shenzhen.

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