Tencent has announced new restrictions on how long minors can play its online games after the Chinese internet group came under intense pressure from state media, which labelled gaming as “spiritual opium”, reported the Financial Times.
In a social media post, the company said it was introducing the measures after “relevant authorities” requested greater protection of minors in gaming and for companies to carry out their “societal responsibility”.
Shares in Tencent, whose online games business generated RMB 39.1 billion ($6 billion) in the first quarter and accounted for 30% of its total revenues, fell as much as 10.8% in Hong Kong before paring losses to close down 6.6%. That left the stock down almost a quarter in the past month. The company’s market value has shed $400 billion from its January peak.
Tencent’s new restrictions, which will initially apply only to its flagship title Honor of Kings, will further reduce the duration that minors are allowed to spend gaming each day from 1.5 hours to 1 hour normally and from 3 hours to 2 hours during holidays.