Tencent Games has introduced a new service called “Underage User Game Spending Reminder” (未成年人遊戲消費提醒, our translation) that notifies payment account holders when a suspected underage player’s daily spending reaches RMB 500 or above.
The mechanism is designed to curb out-of-control spending habits among underage players. “After over a year of multiple rounds of research and testing, we have recently launched the ‘underage user game spending reminder’ service. The feature is now in the trial stage,” the company said in a press statement.
According to the company statement, for suspected underage high-spending activity on Tencent-owned games, it will try to “take the initiative to intervene and notify the user to pay attention to the potential underage irrational spending behavior.” Tencent, which claims to be the first gaming company to roll out such feature, has formed a team of over 200 customer service representatives to execute the new services—contacting payment account holders to remind and confirm the payment. On that end, the company said it will continue to work on improving the communication with payment account holders to help parents monitor, guide and manage their children’s game spending behavior.
A number Tencent Games’ popular video and mobile games include King of Glory (王者荣耀), League of Legends (英雄联盟), CrossFire (穿越火线：枪战王者), QQ Speed Mobile (QQ飞车手游), Naruto Mobile (火影忍者手游), Miracle Nikki (奇迹暖暖), Dungeon Fighter Online (地下城与勇士). Tencent said the new reminder feature will be launched on more games in the future.
The phenomenon of gaming addiction, especially among minors, is evident in China. Last year, Tencent, the world’s largest and most valuable gaming company, was criticized by state media for getting underaged players hooked on violent video games. The company was forced to introduce a limit for underage players and restrict online gameplay to one hour a day. Last February, Tencent launched parental control platform to help parents better monitor their children’s use of online games.