Tencent was on course for its worst one-day fall in seven months as the company started limiting the amount of time children could spend on its top-grossing game.
The gaming and social networking group had announced on Sunday it was planning to introduce time limits for under-18s playing its game Honour of Kings, effective from Tuesday.
The role-playing app is the top-grossing mobile game worldwide and earned Tencent revenues of around Rmb6bn ($876m) in the first quarter of this year, according to analyst estimates.
A post on Tencent’s official social media account on Tuesday morning described its new rules as “the most serious anti-addiction measures in history.”
Tencent shares fell as much as 5.1 per cent on Tuesday, easing to be down 3.7 per cent at HK$270.40 a share. Even after accounting for today’s fall Tencent’s stock is up 43.40 per cent for the year to date.
Under-12s will be limited to one hour of playing a day, and will not be able to log on after 9pm, according to the post. Those between 12 and 18 years of age can play at most 2 hours per day. Parents have also been given access to a platform which allows them to monitor and control their child’s playing.
Criticism over Tencent’s games being too addictive started to intensify two weeks ago, when a 17-year old boy in Guangzhou* suffered a minor stroke after playing Honour of Kings non-stop for forty hours.
A Sunday editorial on the website of the state media outlet, the People’s Daily, accused the game of having a negative influence.
Soon after, Honour of Kings producer Li Min wrote an open letter saying, “When we read bad news about HOK, we naturally want to defend for the game. It’s just a game, just like comics, TV dramas, films and novels. If the game is blamed when people get addicted to it, we feel wronged.”
*This post has been amended to correct the age and location of the individual.
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