Kids games have always been a tricky territory for parents – one of the most common methods used is to strike a deal, for example, to allow an hour of playing after an hour of studying or doing house chores.
In China, this deal might become official. Gaming company Tencent has announced its plans to introduce digital contracts in its games that would let parents and children negotiate playtime. Chief executive Ma Huateng said, “With the proposed feature, children can exchange their playing time by doing housework or reaching certain [academic] scores.” He also indicated that a friend could act as a witness for the contract signing.
Tencent is the company behind hit mobile game Honor of Kings, which has an estimated 200 million monthly players and proved so popular in its home country that it now has a one-hour time limit for children under 12.
The company has been under increasing scrutiny as the World Health Organization finally recognised video-game addiction in December and a Chinese government official likening the game to “opium”, with concerns about its psychological and physical effects on soldiers. Tencent also said it would release new educational games to let children engage with math and science.