Tencent is working on locking kids out of Chinese games using facial recognition tech

    
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Whatever of whatever.

So add this one to your creepy dystopian nightmare-fuel bin: In the war on supposed gaming addiction, at least one corporation is hoping to use facial recognition to stop kids from playing games.

The company here is Tencent, because of course it is; according to the BBC, it’s testing facial recognition for “thousands” of players of the extremely popular Honour of Kings mobile title in major Chinese cities. (You’ll recognize it better from its global name, Arena of Valor.)

“Under pressure from local regulators, Tencent introduced restrictions in July 2017 to limit under-12s to one hour of gameplay a day and 13- to 18-year-olds to a maximum of two hours,” the Beeb reports. “Last month, the company added a real-name registration system to encourage players to keep to the rules. The facial-recognition test appears to be a further effort to discourage young players from trying to circumvent the time limits.”

The move appears to be pertinent to China’s ongoing video game industry regulation, which has worried scientists, halted game launches in the region, and wounded Tencent’s stock value in particular.

Source: The BBC via Gamasutra
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Jack Pipsam

As if I needed more reasons to be thankful I don’t live in China.

I feel for the innocent people stuck there, must be awful to live under such a controlling system.

K38FishTacos
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K38FishTacos

At least they can’t lock you out of your bank account or identify where you are if you log into a computer anywhere in the world. Right? They wouldn’t do that, would they? :D

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Nemui Byakko

That’s right, games are not for children!

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McGuffn

Pokémon was great until the kids ruined it for us old folks.

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Nemui Byakko

Exactly! I say, adult-made games – for adults! Children go play children-made games!

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Sally Bowls

Whoa! Back that up. :-) Just because games are not for children, does not mean they are for adults. A government protecting its citizens might question the societal good of gaming and start limiting adult access to games as well. They are, to the wrong bureaucrat / politician, addicting, with excessive violence and contributing to eyesight problems for half a billion people. In addition to gambling.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6117165/China-limit-number-online-games-myopia-fears.html

But the move adds to perceptions that there is a broader campaign to rein in China’s fast-growing video game sub-culture after authorities already made clear their concerns over gaming addiction and the violent content of many shoot-em-up titles.

The education ministry statement, also endorsed by seven other ministries, said they will ‘implement regulations and controls’ on the number of games that can be played online, limit new releases, explore an age-restriction system for games, and take steps to reduce playing time by minors.

But visual concerns are just the latest reason given for an apparent campaign to put the brakes on wildly popular digital gaming.

But regulators also have balked at approving games featuring violence and gambling, Bloomberg quoted a source as saying, as Xi pushes a ‘purification’ campaign to purge media and entertainment of content perceived as unsavoury.

China is the world´s largest gaming market, with an estimated $37.9 billion (£30 billion) in revenue, according to industry tracker Newzoo, but concerns over objectionable content and addiction have fuelled growing scrutiny.

Official warnings over the dangers, and calls for tighter regulation, seemed to gain pace after Chinese media reported in February that a 15-year-old game-addicted boy in central China bludgeoned and strangled a woman to death.

State-run Xinhua news agency said the boy told police he wanted to know whether killing was ‘as easy and fun’ as in video games.

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Schmidt.Capela

But regulators also have balked at approving games featuring violence and gambling, Bloomberg quoted a source as saying,

If this is true, and given that China had previously passed some regulations on lootboxes and seems to be rethinking its approval process, we might soon see strict regulation, or even an outright ban, on lootboxes in one of the most important gaming markets in the world.

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Arktouros

This where the logical conclusion ends to all the regulation people are asking for.

Governments don’t fix problems or create solutions. They simply capitalize on your fears and anger to expand their power and control. They’ll happily take away freedoms you’re willing to give up and more besides in the name of protection.

Case in point, China is one of the fastest growing markets out there for things like gaming and technology. Getting access to it and keeping access to it is going to make your company filthy rich. However you have to get past the Government gatekeepers and keep them happy. If they say jump, a big company like TenCent is absolutely going to say how high?

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Zora

Some oh so concerned gambling commission this side of the world is most likely watching and sulking, wondering why can’t they do -that- over here.

It’d be for the children, why won’t anyone think of the children!

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McGuffn

How so, using facial recognition technology to register the inevitable despair when someone opens a lockbox?

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Arktouros

My face has a general look of annoyance as I understand fully what the company is doing (making me pay more for the same item) and I’d rather they just get that out of the way and charge a bigger price outright. Like stop making me open 40 lockboxes at $3 and just charge me $100 for the outfit I want already.

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McGuffn

These work wonders.
https://www.amazon.com/Officially-Licensed-Groucho-Marx-Glasses/dp/B002R7XO3Y

And they’re officially licensed AND “brand new” How can you go wrong. Probably don’t want to wear them if you’re trying to look wise beyond your years though.

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McGuffn

Threats come in all shapes and sizes. It is legitimate to protect from some of them and perhaps not others.

And governments aren’t the only ones that want to exploit you. Do you think there’s a spate of scumbag companies stealthily installing spyware by accident?

And why a bunch of them backtracked when the scheme was brought to light? They knew people would be pissed and backed out because keeping access to you is more important and will get them rich.

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Arktouros

I absolutely think every single company has only one goal and that is to make money for itself just about any way it can. However dealing with businesses is entirely optional affair outside of a few cases where a natural monopoly exists. I tell a company I refuse to do business with them because I dislike their lockbox monetization. Conversely it’s generally unwise to tell a government that you don’t like their laws and therefore won’t be following them.

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silverlock

No it isn’t. Their is reasonable and logical middle ground to be found in these things, and with a democratic government, an independent judiciary, and a free press we can keep moving towards that no matter how many missteps we make on the way.

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Arktouros

Traditionally speaking that middle ground has largely been leave things alone and don’t regulate them and with the exception has been when people have no other options (IE: monopolies) and are forced into terrible business arrangements. That isn’t the case here, if people dislike a business model they can choose not to support it.

By regulating the topic because you say it presents a harm to the public (IE: lockboxes are gambling and therefore addictive) you give credence to the idea that wagering on virtual goods is harmful. It isn’t a huge leap of logic from there to equally demonize the games themselves as they also employ various manipulative strategies to keep people playing.

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rafael12104

Well, I was going to comment, but I withdraw.

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silverlock

Not even the tip of the iceberg. Check out this article in MIT Tech Review: who needs democracy when you have data

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Schmidt.Capela

A particularly worrisome part is that, in the hands of a competent government, this kind of authoritarian power can indeed make the country far more effective, its growth much faster, even when you take into account that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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silverlock

I don’t really agree with that. When you completely crush any dissent at all, any hope for making things better then you just end up crushing the peoples spirit. A totally repressed population is not a productive one and it definitely isn’t one capable of producing much in the way of new ideas.

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Schmidt.Capela

That is why they don’t crush the hope of making things better, apart from some minorities and dissidents. Between propaganda, fast economic growth, and the government actually listening to and solving grievances (as long as it doesn’t require the party giving up control), Chinese people often get the impression that things are getting better.

The Chinese government understands that the trick to keeping the populace under control isn’t to stamp out rebellion, but to make the population not want to rebel in the first place, which means keeping them content. As an added bonus this makes it far harder for internal or external agents to destabilize the country by seeding dissent, which is likely why the US never managed to do it in all the years they’ve been trying to.

BTW, that playbook isn’t exclusive to China. Hungary seems to be another example, this one brought about by groups that support the president achieving a near monopoly of the press, which is helpful in both manipulating the elections and in keeping the populace content.

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Arktouros

I wouldn’t even be surprised if decisions like these are made based on things like big data. You notice X amount of your population 10-18 spends Y amount of hours online instead of other activities you in turn crack down on that to encourage other behavior which in turn leads different results. That forms habits later in life as well. They’re not thinking short term but rather long term like 1-3 generations down the line. It’s very smart in a sinister sort of way, certainly wouldn’t want to live there, but can recognize the smart intentions.

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Schmidt.Capela

Worth noting that a smart authoritarian government is going to pay close attention to what the population thinks and do whatever it can to make the population content, if not happy, as long as it doesn’t involve giving up its power. A content population is more productive, presents less risk of revolting, and is less susceptible to foreign propaganda.

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Arktouros

That’s basically exactly what the article Silver said.

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Sally Bowls
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kgptzac

Among random decisions coming from China’s central government, limiting minors from playing that one mobile game isn’t as random as it’s more likely a bunch of parents lost their shit when they realize even more that they can’t control their offspring as much as they’d want.

And it would be funny if this measurement works.

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Armsbend

From everything I’ve read – China is involved in a deep struggle right now in a clash of it’s own and Western values.

But don’t discount that this is simply a measure to create a distraction from the very real economic issues going on in their country right now. Issues which are going to get much worse. A distraction and something to blame their woes on.

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kgptzac

I never said wanting to limit kids’ play time on this game is a “distraction”, whatever it means in the current context. Social hysteria is real and hardly a distraction.

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Armsbend

You didn’t say that – I did.

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Tuor of Gondolin

This isn’t random at all. This is developing technology for increased state control of its populous. This also helps get people acclimated to this type of control.

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kgptzac

Not sure what’s going today when more than one person reply to me and disagrees with the something I already said is opposite of what I believe. For the record, I agree implementing this kind of facial recognition in games is obvious that more to come.

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Bannex

On further reading I actually agree with the time limits. Just not the facial recognition thing.

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silverlock

I doubt most people would have a problem with the limits but this is clearly a case of the solution being worse then the problem.

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Jack Pipsam

How about parents set time limits? How would you feel if your government decided what times you could use the internet? That’s the next logical step up.

Whatever rules are brought in for one group, another is not far behind.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

.

nobody puts Baby in the corner.gif
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rafael12104

LOL!

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Armsbend

lol it’s like this ancient meme was made for this one moment. the baby (who is probably my age now) is stroking his china beard at the end. perfect!

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Schlag Sweetleaf

:)

pai mei approves.gif
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McGuffn

that baby clearly has ancient and mystical wisdom.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

Always liked this one, whoever made it has my respect and admiration. I’ve fancied taking a crack at it myself someday, but its a lot of overlays

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Zora

Thrice damn you, you owe me a coffee haha ^^

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Schlag Sweetleaf

I have you covered:)

CUP O' ZORA.jpg
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Sally Bowls

OMG!
/awe

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Schlag Sweetleaf

TIL about chromatic interactions with nested squares. <3

Josef Albers and Sally Bowls.png
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Schmidt.Capela

Lol, so Sally’s avatar is actually a 1968 painting currently in the Dallas Museum of Art.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

It’s sublime.

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Arktouros

I had no idea, pretty cool.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

Hoping I haven’t overstepped my bounds w/ Sally and Zora.no mockery or disrespect intended. Wanted to pay tribute w/ both images.

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McGuffn

When I looked at the coffee cup I had no idea it was Zora. Worse, I looked at Josef Albers and Sally Bowls.png and had no idea it was Sally’s avatar picture.

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Paragon Lost

I know such things are in the eye of the beholder, I’ll just say that in this old eye, you were successful. :)

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Paragon Lost

lol! Right? Schlag is utterly amazing.

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Schlag Sweetleaf

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.”

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Armsbend

The Chinese government could say tomorrow, “Video games are over” and they would be over. I assume this is a move in tandem with the Chinese to allow Tencent to operate freely.

To those who doubt me due to the scope of Tencent look at the Communists relationship with the game of golf. Even if you don’t doubt me – check it out – it is endlessly interesting.

https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/06/23/534052842/chinas-government-tightens-its-grip-on-golf-shuts-down-courses