Online gamers will have to enter authentic identity information to play games from June onwards, enabling parents to check their children's online gaming history, reports Tuesday's Beijing Daily Messenger.
The authentication system will require all players to enter their identification card numbers before being allowed to play games. A query system would enable parents to check which games their children have played and their online status. Meanwhile, the public security department will authenticate the registered information. Once forged identity information is found, the gamer's rank and score will be annulled.
This is the latest move by the authorities to regulate the online gaming market after last year's timing mechanisms which automatically logged players off games once they exceeded a set number of hours of continuous play.
Statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) show China had 111 million Internet users by the end of 2005, more than 20 million of whom were online game players.
An online gaming industry insider was quoted as saying that the authentication system might leak personal information.
He said that software such as spyware and Trojan which steal online usernames and passwords are ubiquitous on the Internet. Once a gamer's account is stolen, he or she will lose all personal information including the identification card number required to register.
According to Kou Xiaowei, deputy director of the audio and video section of the State Administration of Press and Publications, the system will first be implemented in seven domestic online gaming firms on a trial basis.
Wang Feng, senior executive of Jinshan Software, one of the seven firms, said that the system will boost a healthy online gaming market, and his company will do all they can to protect the security of gamers' information.
An online gamer said that it will be very difficult for online game operators and the public security departments to work together to authenticate the identification information.
A veteran gamer Xiao Jia said gamers will lose the fun of playing different roles anonymously in virtual reality when the authentication system is in place.