Remember last week when China’s restrictive video game laws forced Tencent to (hilariously) re-brand PUBG Mobile as Game for Peace? It seems the publisher is hoping to avoid this situation occurring in other countries, as the company is introducing a gameplay management system for under-18s to “promote healthy gaming behaviours”.
As reported by Gamespot, PUBG Mobile’s latest update requires young players to “acknowledge a gaming advisory” before they boot up the game. Players under 18 will receive pop-up notifications to remind them to take a break – but the press release doesn’t specify exactly how often these will appear. Tencent claims PUBG Mobile is one of the first mobile titles to incorporate such a system.
“Today’s announcement is a proactive step in ensuring that hundreds of millions of players worldwide can continue to enjoy PUBG mobile in a sustainable manner,” Tencent executive Vincent Wang said.
The system is currently up and running in Indonesia, India, Nepal, the UAE, Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and will be rolled out to other markets in stages.
It’s worth taking a close look at exactly which countries are included in the first wave: Nepal briefly banned PUBG Mobile in April, while Iraq has stuck to the ban it imposed on both PUBG and Fortnite last month. Indian cities implemented bans and even carried out arrests in March, and many of the other countries there have at least considered restrictions on the game. The near-universal reason for all of these measures has been concern over the youth getting addicted to PUBG Mobile.
When Eurogamer contacted the PUBG Mobile team earlier this year to ask about the India bans, the developer explained it was working on “numerous new features and enhancements” to “provide an environment for players to enjoy PUBG Mobile in a rewarding and responsible manner”. It seems this gameplay management system was one of those plans, and it’s pretty clear that Tencent is hoping to avoid the regulation issues with measures such as these.
While some may jump to conclusions about the intrusiveness of PUBG Mobile’s gameplay management system, it actually sounds fairly benign (particularly when compared to China’s literal policing of children’s playtime). Personally I find it useful when games nudge me to take a breather – Warframe, for instance, informs players when they’ve been gaming for over an hour – and I’m yet to fully break from my student days of staying up late. Old habits die hard.