Is facial recognition the future of surveillance in the gaming industry? One company thinks so.

Chinese gaming company and tech giant, Tencent, has start using facial recognition software to monitor its players. The company’s Arena of Valor MOBA game, also known as Honor of Kings, will be one of the first to employ the software for games. This has raised questions in regards to the privacy of players. It also begs the question of whether this is the future of surveillance in the gaming industry.

The game in question is an online multiplayer battle game, and one of the most popular in China. It is also one of the highest grossing online games in China. The publisher, Tencent, announced that it would be using facial recognition software to monitor players.

Arena of Valor could be leading the way for facial recognition in games

This is another action in the recent crackdown on games in China. It follows up the requirement of the company for players to use real name credentials as a means of identification for players. The same company also automatically logs-off players under the age of twelve after one hour of gameplay. While this may be extreme to some, it’s undeniable that this a feasible way to decrease the symptoms of gaming addiction.

So what is the reasoning behind the new implementation of facial recognition software?

The Chinese Government has been voicing concern over the increasing numbers of young people developing Myopia, or near-sightedness. The facial recognition technology, therefore, will monitor the player to ensure their eyes are not too close to the screen. If they are, their screens will become blurry to encourage them to sit further away.

As players also have to input real forms of identification to use the game, the facial recognition software will also tie into their identification.

Facial Recognition technology has stirred recurrent fears of privacy risks that may translate into gaming

The use of facial recognition software has been met with fear. Whether it is the use of the technology on smartphones, or the boom in public surveillance, facial recognition strikes fear and suspicion in many. With one gaming company already implementing the software, it may pave a path for other company’s to follow.

What do you think on the use of facial recognition software in games? While many may feel that this is an extreme measure on Tencent’s part, if it proves to be a successful way to protect the health of young players, it might be time to get comfortable with the idea.



Lover of literature and gaming from Melbourne, I’m a massive fan of story-based gaming and how video games are quickly becoming the next great form of storytelling - Anything story-based or a good survival-horror are my absolute favourites. Currently studying Writing and Literature at Swinburne University and hoping to take it into the gaming industry.