The women said their fingers ached after endless bouts of playing the popular plane shooting game, Fei Ji Da Zhan, which can be translated into English as Airplane War.
[Dr] Zou also noted that aside from Xu and Li, he had already seen four other patients who were suffering from the same symptoms, all brought on by excessive Airplane War playing.
The doctor diagnosed both women as suffering De Quervain syndrome, or “gamer’s thumb”, which is characterised by the inflammation of the tendons which control thumb movement.
Something doesn’t sit right with this story. While it could just be a case of a reporter livening up an otherwise uninteresting story with some SEO-friendly buzzwords (#wechat, #airplanewar, #justinbieber) there have been a series of articles in state media this week attacking WeChat in particular and smartphones more generally (phones were also recently blamed for the decline in written Chinese among young people).
WeChat, the fifth-most downloaded app in the world, poses a number of challenges to the Chinese authorities. The private nature of the messages makes it more conducive to dissent than Weibo, and while Tencent undoubtedly does censor posts users make on the service (even outside of China) it is less inclined to spy on its users than China’s state-owned telcos. Speaking of the telcos, we’ve written several times about their ongoing campaign to claw back text messaging revenue lost to WeChat.
[Image: Screenshot of ‘Airplane War’]