Honor of Kings experiments with facial recognition to identify players
Tencent on edge after game addiction warning from Chinese state media
Last month when Tencent said they were going to check the name and national ID of gamers against police records, some people suggested they might as well scan their faces too.
Turns out, that’s exactly what Tencent is thinking.
The company says a test is now underway in Honor of Kings -- its blockbuster smartphone game, known as Arena of Valor outside of China -- to verify players’ identity with facial recognition.
The system will select around 1,000 new users at random in Beijing and Tencent’s home turf of Shenzhen. Video of each player’s face, captured in real time by the phone’s camera, will be checked along with information from a national security database.
Tencent has said it wants to identify children among players, to make sure that they follow in-game curfews and time limits for minors. Measures like these have become more urgent after state media voiced concerns over game addiction among children.
But it looks like a lot of gamers in China aren’t comfortable with this latest experiment.
Tencent itself said half of the people it surveyed last month, including parents and gamers of various age, were dubious about having to show their face just to play a game. The company says it decided to go ahead with the test anyway to “explore the possibility of using facial recognition in a real-life environment.”
But many more are now expressing concerns about Tencent’s idea.
One popular comment on Weibo asked, “So this means the game can access the selfie camera? So it can then take a photo without me knowing?”
Some wondered if other games might be next.
“My nephew isn’t playing Honor of Kings anymore,” one user wrote. “Now they are playing battle royale games.”