Tencent uses facial recognition system to mitigate unlawful playtime among juveniles


Tencent is attempting to offset young gamers from playing games during curfew hours using a facial recognition system. Anyone looking a little too young at certain hours of the day will be automatically logged off as a result.

The year 2019 saw China releasing a law that limits the time that children, including teens, spend with games. Essentially a legislation aimed at combatting game addiction, it mandates that the youth to stop playing games between 10 PM and 8 AM. However, beyond the curfew hours, children are allowed to spend at least 90 hours playing games. An extra bonus of up to three hours, if set on a holiday.

Face is the Key

Adhering to the law, Tencent is rolling out the Midnight Patrol program. Its function is to basically scan people’s face and compare them to existing users in the database. Consequently, anyone caught violating the rules is kicked off from the system. Its systematic approach sees anyone using Tencent’s products inevitably tied to the system and be subject to its rigid guideline.

However, despite its advanced capability, the system is not expected to be perfect in its ways. This implies that there could be errors, but there will also be countermeasures to address them, should they occur. For instance, in a random chance that an adult be mistaken for a child, the system redoes the scanning. This is to ensure that the person behind the device has legitimate reason for playing the game.

Good Business

Tencent is one of the most prolific companies that came from China. With a portfolio that lists so many titles, applying the facial recognition system will not be immediate, however. Initially, the new system is intended to influence at least 60 of its titles. However, as per Digital Trends, there could be an exception to the rule. Particularly, pointing to the popular MOBA title, League of Legends.

Seemingly an approach that affects two distinct cohorts within China differently, reception to the law has been expectedly polarizing. On the one hand, adults praise the measure for its seemingly auspicious effect to the lives of children. Meaning, more time to do something else instead of leisurely spending time on a device. On the other hand, teenagers find dissatisfaction with how detrimental the measures were to their liberty.

It remains to be seen how the new measure will be affecting Tencent’s business. But as it is, prospects about the company’s future are good following successful investments in it.

Image used courtesy of Tencent

Jermaine D. Delos Santos

Published by
Jermaine D. Delos Santos

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