Army officers on the mainland have a new enemy in their sights – a mobile phone battle game believed so addictive to young soldiers that it may slow them down in real-life combat.
Smartphone smash-hit King of Glory is so popular in China that its maker and internet giant Tencent last month began limiting daily playing times to “ensure children’s healthy development”.
Now the Chinese army is taking aim at the multiplayer online battle game.
“There is certainly a security risk that can’t be overlooked,” the People’s Liberation Army Daily newspaper warned gravely.
“The game requires constant attention but a soldier’s job is full of uncertainty. Once a soldier is cut off from the game for an urgent mission, he could be absent-minded during the operation if his mind remains on the game.”
The newspaper said officers had become worried after noticing that almost all the soldiers in one dormitory were playing the game over a weekend.
The state newspaper did admit that, up to a point, the game offered respite during leisure time and there are no immediate plans to ban it from barracks. However, it should be played in moderation.
The game boasts up to 80 million daily users but Beijing is increasingly worried about the impact it is having on children and teenagers, who lock themselves away for hours for marathon sessions.
A 17-year-old gamer in Guangdong suffered a type of stroke after spending 40 consecutive hours playing King of Glory, state media said in April.