Tencent Holdings announced that it would curb the play time of Honour of Kings underage players over concerns that it could lead to addiction. The move comes as a response to an acid editorial published in The People’s Daily, which criticized the company for harming children for the sake of profit.
According to the editorial, the tremendously popular fantasy role play game is a textbook example of an addictive video game that spreads “negative energy” glues kids in front of their smartphones for hours on end and have caused even deaths. The article was published after China’s most prominent game maker said it plans to trim the play time for underage players among the game’s estimated 200 million monthly users.
Tencent, which is known to be the developer of WeChat, is still focused on video gaming. Honour of Kings has become extremely popular and it now accounts for more than half of the company’s gaming revenues.
After the opinion piece was posted, the company’s shares sank 5.1 percent, which is the largest slip in more than a year. The newspaper noted that the company entertains the masses but for profits it turns a death ear to the many hurt lives.
Tencent Under Government Scrutiny
Tencent’s products now have one billion active users, which has put it under government scrutiny. Government experts criticized video games since the debut of internet cafes in the 1990s because of reports of dead kids after days of gaming sessions.
The People’s Daily blasted Tencent’s game because it leads to addiction and harms social values. Honour of Kings is very similar to League of Legends (LoL), another highly popular and addictive video game from Tencent.
LoL helped the video game maker boost its gaming revenue 57 percent this year, while analysts estimate that Honour of Kings could bring in more than half of smartphone gaming revenue in 2017.