Massive Game Publisher Rolling Out Digital Contracts to Help Limit Kids' Gameplay

University VP refers to video games as the new opium

The world's largest video game publisher plans to introduce digital contracts to its games, allowing parents and children to agree on a reasonable amount of play times and later give children the ability to earn more time through housework and good grades, The Straits Times reports.

Chinese video game company Tencent - which owns League of Legends developer Riot, part of Epic Games, creators of Fortnite and the Unreal engine and is behind the world's most popular mobile game - made the announcement at a news conference during China's annual meetings of the National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

The surging popularity of Tencent's games in China have led some there to liken the company's titles as a drug to children. Yu Xinwen, a vice president of Guangzhou University who is a delegate of the CPPCC, urged Beijing to develop a system to classify online games by age. “Some online games have become the new opium to poison the growth of teenagers,” Yu said, according to The Straits Times.

Tencent chief executive Ma "Pony Ma" Huateng said during the press conference that the proposed feature would allow children to "exchange their playing time by doing housework or reaching certain [academic] scores. Children can ask their friends to witness the signing of the contract.”

Ma, who is now the richest person in China and a delegate to the National People’s Congress also said that games can be used for learning and that Tencent plans to introduce titles that will help children learn math and science.