The Chinese government doesn’t want children playing games for several hours every day. It said as much in a public notice from August. Now, Tencent is going along with that recommendation. The world’s biggest gaming company started pushing out its new “real name identity system” (RNIS) across China on November 1, according to market-intelligence firm Niko Partners. This program aims to mitigate concerns about addiction and myopia in children. It limits people 12 and younger to an hour of gaming per day. And it forces every player to register themselves in the game with their real name and government ID.
Of course, this program isn’t new. Tencent introduced a version of its RNIS in May 2017. That also required players to register their age, but it was easy to fool. In September, however, the publisher revised and strengthened the program. And the government also stepped in to help. Regulators are providing Tencent with access to a massive list of every person who lives in China.
“This system still requires users to register with their real name and ID, but the details are checked in real time against a national citizen database provided by the Ministry of Public Security,” reads a note that Niko Partners sent to its clients today. “This closes some of the loopholes with the old system and allows for Tencent to properly verify a user’s age and apply an anti-addiction policy if required. Those who fail to verify through this system face their account being blocked.”
So Tencent can now block some kids from playing games, and all it gets out of that is a registry with every person’s information on it.