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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Weekend
Young Chinese find leisure, friends in fantasy rampage
    2017-July-7  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

WHAT’S a Chinese girl got to do to get some attention these days? Grow a third arm? Chop off a few heads? For Zeng Xiaoxian, that seemed like her best shot. Unable to compete with her boyfriend’s obsession with the hugely popular and top-grossing online game “Honor of Kings,” also known as “King of Glory,” the unemployed 23-year-old from Zhejiang Province figured she might as well join him.

So began Zeng’s journey through Tencent Holdings’ fantasy world of kings, queens and life-or-death adventures. A journey that has practically become a full-time job.

“I’m out of work at the moment, so apart from when I’m eating or sleeping I play ‘Honor of Kings’ nonstop until the system kicks me off. A rough estimate would be at least eight hours,” she said.

Since its launch in 2015, “Honor of Kings,” developed by Internet giant Tencent, has grown into a viral hit in China. It’s a multiplayer online battle game similar to “League of Legends,” but for mobile phones, and with characters adapted from Chinese history and myths. It has become the world’s top-grossing (paywall) mobile game, with some 55 million daily active users, more than “Pokemon Go” at its peak.

Its massive success, however, has drawn scrutiny from China’s official media — which described it as “poison” — as well as parents and teachers amid concerns that children are becoming addicted to the game. Half of those playing it are below 24 years of age, according to Chinese mobile data firm Jiguang.

The main criticism of “Honor of Kings” is not due to its violent content, but more about concerns over addiction. People’s Daily cited examples of teenagers stealing money to spend on game features and also a case of alleged suicide.

The secrets to its success include the fact that games are relatively short at around 20 minutes each and “Honor of Kings” is seen as a vital social currency, with scores of players saying it now played a huge part in their social lives.

“It’s not just a game, it’s now becoming a crucial part of my social life ... It’s crazy, like everyone is playing, and I just don’t want to be left out,” said Crystal Xu, a 20-year-old university student living in Toronto.

“I am totally addicted to it. I play it during lunch time, class breaks and when waiting for the bus.”

Liu Jie, a 24-year-old who works for a local government, was caught red-handed when officials from the local disciplinary inspection department burst into his office only to find him playing “Honor of Kings.”

For Liu, who said he had to write a letter criticizing his actions, the game is also a spectator sport of sorts.

“Sometimes, you log on not to play the game, but also to check which friends of yours are online, to see how well they have been doing in their battles,” Liu said. “Once you send them an emoji, you just start talking.”

On Tuesday, Tencent rolled out a series of measures to restrict play time for the game’s young users. Real-name registration is now required for all players. Those under the age of 12 are limited to one hour of play time daily, and are banned from logging onto the game after 9 p.m. Those aged between 12 and 18 are limited to two hours of game time each day.

“There are no clear regulations to guard against mobile gaming addiction in China, but we have decided to take the lead to try to dispel parents’ concerns by limiting play time and force children to log off,” Tencent said in a statement over the past weekend.

But the child locks have immediately fueled a market for “adult” accounts. According to a report from the Beijing News, “Honor of Kings” accounts registered with adult IDs are now being sold on Chinese gaming sites for prices ranging from several dozen yuan to several thousand yuan, depending on the player characters’ virtual equipment. Services that enable minor players to bypass the time limit have also sprung up. The newspaper’s reporter paid 20 yuan (US$3) for such a service, and two hours later, he was able to play on a teenager account without any restrictions.

Earlier this year, Tencent launched an online platform that enables parents to place electronic locks on their children’s gaming accounts. In response to the workarounds for the account limits, Tencent said it will upgrade the platform to allow parents to ban their children from playing on the devices which have been registered under the parent-control system. (SD-Agencies)

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Shenzhen Daily E-mail:szdaily@szszd.com.cn