It’s no secret that South Korea, where Internet penetration rate is above 93%, has a very active gaming culture. Whereas curfews for gaming are already in existence, the country has now officially banned the trading of virtual game items in massively multiplayer online games.
pic by Hachimaki
According to Kim Kap-Soo, head of the content policy division of South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, they are implementing the ban because games are meant for entertainment and “should be used for academic and other good purposes”. The move aims to cut down the time teens waste on acquiring virtual goods, since the ministry sees the collection of virtual items for commercial gain as a hindrance to developing a healthy game culture.
The country has also banned the use of bots within games (such as Blizzard’s Diablo 3), making it illegal to farm gold and other items while the player is away from the computer.
The use of bots is already disallowed by the games themselves, but now, players caught farming, trading or botting will face quite a steep penalty — a fine of up to 50 million won (~$42,000) and a maximum jail sentence of five years.
The government’s crackdown on botting will definitely help game creators who spend a lot of time enforcing bans within the games. The ministry estimates that more than 60% of items traded virtually are collected using bots.