China just instituted new rules governing how long minors can spend gaming. Anyone under 16 can only spend three hours per week playing video games and only play games on the weekend or state holidays. That’s just one hour to play on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, which seems like a woefully inadequate amount.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way. A new report from Kotaku reveals how kids are getting around these state-enforced gaming restrictions.
Sadly, you can forget about whatever image you might have had of underage hacker children sneaking their way into Call of Duty Mobile through nothing but grit and ingenuity. Kids aren’t hacking their way into more gaming hours–they’re just buying them.
China’s official state paper, the People’s Daily, reported Tencent was forced to sue over 20 e-commerce sites last weekend as listings started popping up for minors to rent gaming accounts. These accounts would start at roughly $5 for two hours use, and were mostly for the popular MOBA, Honor of Kings.
Many of these accounts were from adults looking to make a quick buck. Adults have no restrictions on their gaming, so they can sell their unused accounts for a few hours' worth of game time. This obviously has a few problems as it’s both illegal and against most game’s terms of service, where account swapping is generally frowned upon. Plus, you might make some money, but there’s no telling what mayhem a kid will get up to on your account.
There’s also the problem of Tencent’s new facial recognition program, Midnight Patrol. Enacted last summer to enforce slightly less stringent gaming limits, Midnight Patrol will randomly require some users to scan their faces between 10 PM and 8 AM. If the user doesn’t comply, they’re automatically considered to be a minor and kicked out of whatever game they’re playing.