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Tencent Folds & # 39; Em, shut down another video game while Beijing Holds Grip


Tencent Holdings

TCEHY -2.89%

is shutting down an online poker game because the government is increasing control of the video game industry in China.

The Shenzhen-based technology giant said on Monday that it was starting to phase out "Everyday Texas Hold & Em," a gambling based on the poker card game, and the game server would close on September 25th. Players will be compensated according to Ministry's guidelines for culture and tourism, the company said on its official WeChat account.

Tencent said it will either pay refunds to players or convert their virtual currency into the poker game so that it can be used in other games.

The company said in a statement that it closed the game because of "an adjustment in its company", and a spokeswoman refused to work it out. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the General Administration of Press and Publication – which analysts are likely to be responsible for approving the game after a bureaucratic rearrangement – did not respond to requests for comments. But the Chinese authorities have in the past cracked on online gambling, which is illegal on the Chinese mainland. Players in Chinese poker games use virtual currencies instead of real money to bet, and usually call on middlemen services to transfer or collect their winnings.

The video game industry is increasingly being watched by regulators. State media have denounced the violent content and addictive nature of video games in recent years.

Tencent, the world's largest video game business based on revenue, has taken a hit after undergoing a series of legal hurdles.

Last month, the company lost more than $ 20 billion in market value in one day after Chinese regulators said they would limit video game releases and set new restrictions on playing time for young people as part of a broader plan to address school vision problems and adolescents' vision problems. to fight.

Tencent was also forced to stop the sale of "Monster Hunter: World", which it had only introduced the previous week, when the Chinese regulators withdrew the exploitation license of the game. A few days later, the company reported that its profits had dropped in the second quarter compared to a year earlier, the first drop since 2005. According to executives, Tencent was unable to make money from two of the most popular games because a bureaucratic rescheduling the regulator had temporarily halted game approvals.

Since then, Tencent has proactively tightened control of its games.

Last week the company said it will check the identifications and ages of players on the hit Honor of Kings & # 39; video game against a police database for irrational consumption & # 39; of the game by pointing out minors. The company called the move a first for the industry.

On his WeChat account, the company said the identity verification will expand to other games in the future.

"Children are the hope of their family, the future of the country", the company said. "Tencent has always seen healthy online access for minors as a matter of paramount importance."

Write to Shan Li on shan.li@wsj.com

Appeared in the print edition of September 11, 2018 as & # 39; Tencent Shuts Videogame as Beijing Crackdown Continues & # 39 ;.


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