South Korea bans virtual item trading, game bots and farms

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.

Korean online gamers

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.

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11 comments

  1. Adam says:

    Seems like South Korea ia going crazy? They shouldn’t take away the bots in gaming because it is one of the cores of an enjoyable game. Also, they’re banning it without a good reason.. The penalty is very high too.

  2. Let’s wait for the deluge of violent reactions from disappointed gamers.

  3. Trisha says:

    We’ll see what the outcome is.. If this will truly work. :) But the thought is well.

  4. Hazel Mae says:

    South Korea’s MCST’s reason for the ban sounds logical enough. There are wholesome activities for individuals other than getting glued to some techy addiction.

  5. ian says:

    Koreans are really addicted to Online Games. They are the number 1 internet user in the SEA

  6. Franc Ramon says:

    Unhappy gamers in South Korea. I guess, people must have been too addicted there to warrant a ban but I think there should be a limit to gaming except that it should be parents enforcing the ban instead of the state.

  7. Mai Flores says:

    Woah! Didn’t know there were BOTs that worked that way — that’s cheating! Well, I’m not really a techie person, so that really got me reading further about it.. good thing that there’s already a penalty for such an act.

  8. Mark says:

    I pay no mind for as long as it won’t be implemented here in the Philippines.

  9. tatess says:

    I thought that only Filipinos are the ones who are addicted to games.it seems that it is worst in South Korea with those existing laws and curfews.

  10. Bien says:

    interesting how a country legislates these types of laws. Ibang level na talaga sila. :-) tayo sa pinas pinoproblema pa natin ang baha, kuryente, basura, etc. pero sila, bots in games.

  11. Kathy Ngo says:

    Nakakatuwa naman mga concern nila sa buhay. Medyo mababaw compared to us.

Let me know what you think!