Tencent low-light facial recognition to check night-time gaming among children
Tencent Games, one of China’s biggest gaming companies, says it has deployed a facial recognition platform dubbed ‘Midnight Patrol’ with the aim of curbing the high rate of gaming addiction among Chinese minors.
A report by Sixth Tone says the initiative is intended to keep a check on below-18s who spend more time gaming at night. The company says anyone who is found to be addicted to late-night gaming and who fails the face biometric verification will be treated according to Tencent Games’ anti-addiction health system supervision protocol.
The idea is to deter minors from enjoying game time between 10:00 pm and 8:00 am daily, and get them go to bed early.
“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,” Sixth Tone quoted a Tencent Games statement posted on its WeChat app recently.
The company is making more than 60 of its games subject to the facial recognition feature, including some of its popular titles such as ‘Honor of Kings’ and ‘Game for Peace’. There are plans to include more games on the restricted list.
While some stakeholders such as parents have praised the biometric checks as a step the company has taken in the right direction, the affected group of persons, some of them high school students, have expressed disappointment with the decision, according to Sixth Tone.
Tencent is said to have started carrying out facial recognition tests on users for age checks in cities like Beijing and Shenzhen in 2018.
Two years ago, the company said it had developed an image-aging solution which Chinese police plan to use to find missing children.