Arena of Valor Causes Surge of Fake Online IDs in China

Just last month, Tencent had begun imposing time restrictions on its mega-hit game Arena of Valor (Honor of Kings) in China, thanks to increasing concern from Chinese officials and the general public from recent game-related incidents that had taken place.

According to the new time restrictions imposed, children under the age of 13 were only allowed 1 hour of daily play, and subsequent minors under the age of 17 were limited to 2 hours of play a day. However, the new law has proven ineffective as many teenagers are finding workarounds with fake online IDs in order to play their favourite game.

“If you don’t do real-name verification for your new accounts, the system has no way to know how old you are, so there won’t be any limits,” Ms. Min said. “I have two accounts, and most of my friends also do this to bypass the restrictions.”

Many big sites like Xianyu are offering access to adult online IDs for nominal prices of $2 or so. Account buying and selling is another popular option for circumvention, with accounts selling anywhere from $30 to $500 depending on how powerful and equipped the user is.

Tencent is aware of the issue and is currently working with the Chinese government in order to stop minors from circumventing the new time limits. Parents and many others are still debating the question of how much is too much when it comes to gaming, and there are some that think that imposing restrictions will not help in preventing excessive game time.

“Mere restrictions through technical means aren’t sufficient to prevent game addicts, but can actually be counterproductive and increase its social influence instead, bringing more publicity and interests to the game,” said Tian Feng, the deputy director of the Juvenile and Social Problems Department at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

With over 50 million daily active logins in China, much of this number no doubt comes from Arena of Valor's extreme popularity with younger audiences, many of which are minors subject to Tencent's imposed time sanctions.

Arena of Valor is expected to pull in $3.2 billion by the end of the year, while Mobile Esports in China is predicted to generate an estimated $6.78 billion. Despite these astronomical numbers, the Chinese government is not happy with the growing negative social impact of internet and gaming addictions. As the gaming industry gets bigger, China can only expect to see more draconian measures being imposed in the near future.