On August 13, Tencent announced that it will restrict under-18 users from creating accounts for Light and Night, a mobile dating sim targeted toward female gamers. According to Tencent’s recent financial report, the game is currently China’s most popular dating sim, with more active users in July than any other game. In the statement, Tencent vowed to continue taking more measures to protect young gamers.
Light and Night was among the first batch of games to receive an age rating from the new China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association (CADPA), which is trialing a new system that groups games into three age brackets. Light and Night was assigned the highest rating, 16+.
These measures come after Tencent’s shares plummeted after an article in Economic Information Daily calling games “spiritual opium.” In the wake of the article, Tencent has taken a proactive stance in many of its games. According to government regulations, under-18 users should be restricted to 1.5 hours of gameplay per day on non-official holidays and 3 hours on official holidays; but Tencent has gone a step further, limiting under-18 players of Honor of Kings and Game of Peace to 1 and 2 hours per day on non-official and official holidays respectively. Tencent has also limited under-12 users from making purchases in their games. Additionally, Tencent released a statement suggesting that the entire Chinese games industry discuss the possibility of banning under-12 users from playing games completely.
These actions combined with Tencent’s recent financial report show that the company’s focus is increasingly on games for adult users. Second quarter statistics for 2021 show that under-16 users made up only 2.6% of mainland gamers for Tencent games; under-12s made up only 0.3%. It seems reasonable then that Tencent does not believe further restrictions on under-18 users will impact that company’s revenue much, while taking a proactive stance can protect the company amid increasing government crackdowns in the Chinese tech sector.