Tencent limits play time for top mobile esports game Honour of Kings

We have not covered much of Honour of Kings here at MoEsport, but the 5v5 mobile MOBA from Tencent (also owners of Supercell and Riot) have been absolutely dominating the mobile gaming market in China.  The game is estimated to have over 50 million daily active users, and brought in over 5.5 billion yuan ($810.47 million) in revenue during the first quarter of this year!  However, the game’s success has also caught the attention of the Chinese government, and the state-owned People’s Daily newspaper has recently described the game as “poison” and a “drug” that was harming teenagers.

And by harmful, we’re not just talking about addictive gaming leading to bad grades and bad hygienes.  For example, a 13-year-old jumped off a 3-story building after his dad stopped him from playing the game. (though later information claims that the young player, who broke his legs and is in the hospital, thought he could fly like a game character).  In another incident, a 17 year old almost died of cerebral infarction after playing non-stop for 40 hours.

As a first step to tackle this initial gaming addiction problem, Tencent has announced that users below 12 years of age will now be limited to one hour of play time each day, while those aged between 12 years and 18 years will be limited to two hours a day.  Game time/session restrictions are almost unheard of for mobile gaming, and such restrictions will no doubt affect the bottom line for the game (Tencent has already lost $17.5 billion in market value since the announcement).  However, will such restrictions actually be affective in tackling the problem?  Already accounts registered with adult IDs are now being sold on Chinese gaming sites, and hacking services that enable minor players to bypass the time limit are beginning to appear.  It looks like the Tencent team still has its work cut out for them, especially now that they have caught the attention of the Chinese government.

Is this restriction going to be a one-time event that only affects the most popular mobile game in China?  Or will this raise further awareness on the problem (or perceived problem) with over-indulgence on mobile gaming, and force restrictions to snowball into all mobile games?  Only time will tell, but we certainly would not be surprised if games like Clash Royale will have to set age limits down the line in China as well.

Curious about Honour of Kings?  You can now download the game’s western version “Strike of Kings” now on Google Play or Apple App Store (Disclaimer: MoEsport is not responsible for any harmful side effect you may experience from playing this game!)

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