Chinese company Tencent makes the highest grossing online game in the world. Despite this, the company is now limiting the time Chinese children spend playing the very game they created, the Guardian reports.
This is what you call a very big deal: King of Glory made an estimated $883 million in just the first-quarter of this year and boasts 80 million players a day. The company is imposing restrictions on their money making machine to help ensure children’s “healthy development,” according to Tencent’s statement.
Twelve year olds and younger will be allowed one hour of gameplay a day, the Guardian reports, and will get locked out of playing after 9pm. Players between 12 and 18 years old can play for two hours daily, and all young users will be “forced to go offline” if they attempt to play overtime. Tencent is also limiting how much money users under 18 can spend within the game to help them avoid “irrational consumption.” Tencent’s move follows China’s February mandate to restrict minors from playing online games from 12 a.m. to 8 a.m.
Putting a ceiling on King of Glory usage speaks volumes about the severity of internet addiction in China—and the desperation of parents struggling to set healthy boundaries for their children. Tencent said King of Glory was supposed to bring joy, but that “excessive gaming brings joy to neither players nor their their parents.”
An estimated 24 million young Chinese are addicted to the Internet — The country was the first to call internet addiction a clinical disorder in 2008. Previously, parents have sent their screen-addicted children to “rehabilitation centers” that used more violent methods like electroshock therapy to help address internet addiction.
Hopefully, Tencent’s efforts signal a larger trend: That of big companies understanding the importance of setting boundaries between the very popular, and very addictive, technology they create.