Tag: shutdown system

Internet Games are treated like Gambling, Drugs and Alcohol

The bill that alcohol, internet games, gambling and drugs need to be regulated has been proposed by politicians in South Korea. It contains establishing National Addiction Control Committee to take care of various issues from ‘addiction’.

Korean Game Industry was shocked because games have been classified under the same category with alcohol, gambling and drugs. A person from the industry said “The proposal is arguable because games are on the same line with other addictions that need drug treatments to cure. It could be strong regulations in addition to Shutdown System and additional 1% of tax charging.”

The bill is backed by 14 representatives from the conservative ruling party.

MOGEF strengthens Shutdown system

There is a growing controversy over the announcement from MOGEF(Ministry of Gender, Equality & Family) about Game evaluation detailed plan proposal.

This administration notice before going further into the legislation process is for evaluating games that are under shutdown system. MOGEF broke down the evaluation standards as well as rating scale.

According to its game evaluation chart, it is quite possible that all games, which are published in Korea, will be for the age 18 over including PC, consoles, tablet & smartphone games that are connected to the internet.

  • Games that has co-op mode with level system
  • Games that force people to keep playing because they are middle of doing quest with others
  • Games that give players feeling that they achieve something with others
  • Games that allow players getting more in-game money/items if they devote more time to a game
  • Games that allow players to exchange their in-game money to real money
  • Games that give players feeling that they rule the cyber world through mouse and keyboard
  • Games that give players feeling that they influence other people by becoming a powerful person within games
  • Games that allow people becoming better persons than the real world
  • Games that allow people to identity their possibilities
  • Games that cheer people competing with others

Most Korean game companies told that it is absurd because no games could be survived under clauses above. A person from Korean game industry said “I have a doubt that they play any games ever before. Each evaluation clauses are too subjective. All games could be branded as harmful contents in Korea”.

MOGEF told that each clause will be confirmed through the discussion among professionals and related people later.

Shutdown System Working Now in Korea

Shutdown System started to take effect from 20th of November without any significant troubles.

Game companies in Korea applied Shutdown System into their games 2~3 days earlier to prevent any sudden confusion among customers. Young Korean gamers under 16 can not play all online games from 12:00AM to 6:00AM.

However, most of people have doubts about the effectiveness of the system. First, there are still 5% of them playing online games until dawn according to the statistics because they are using not their own account, instead using parents’ account that created by their social security numbers.

Second, the system does not provide a clear guideline. For instance, young people still could play League of Legend(LOL) on NA server instead of Korean server. Classic Battle.net from Blizzard is another exception because it is free and does not have age verification feature within it.

On the other hands, XBox Live and PSN are under the system because Xbox Live is not free while PSN is collecting personal information.

PSN decided not allowing registration under 16, which PSN gives up customer under 16 because PSN thinks they are minority. Xbox360 has internal parental system indeed and does not collect personal information but Ministry of Gender Equality & Familysimply does not accept the concept of parental system and want Xbox Live to collect personal information to apply Shutdown System. Xbox Live has a grace period for 2 months.

The worst thing could happen after 2 months when the grace period ends. Xbox Live might need to block Korean service or block everyone include adults not to play Xbox Live during late night.

We already heard that some foreign companies rescind ongoing projects in Korea or reconsider from the scratch.

The ministry wants game companies in Korea to apply account certification system into their games to prevent fault using of stolen social security numbers. Companies need to collect additional personal information such as social security numbers, phone numbers and credit card information to apply it. It is exact opposite of the personal information protection law.

MoonHwaYunDae(http://www.culturalaction.org/)(MHYD) sends the public inquiry to the ministry related to Shutdown System and requests answers. However, The ministry denied giving any more answers.

Korean Finally Could Purchase Games Through iTunes

Game Category at Apple App Store has been opened at 7:00AM on the 2nd of November in Korea. It took 2 years since iPhone3GS was introduced in Korea for the first time.

Korean iOS gamers needed to have another Apple account in the U.S. or HongKong to purchase iOS games like Angry Birds for the past 2 years. Korean iOS game developers needed to release their games through other countries’ App store or release them at Entertainment category as a temporary expedient.

The reason is that Korean government took too long to make related laws. By the results of mobile games was excluded from Shutdown System recently and drawing the conclusion how to rate mobile games on App stores, finally Game Category is opened. Game Category for Android market will be opened until the end of November as well.

The typical Korean mobile game developers such as Com2uS and Gamevil welcome to have Game Category finally. They expect that Korean mobile game market will be more energized.

Shutdown System is an unconstitutional regulation

A group of adolescent and parental associations announced ‘Shutdown system is an unconstitutional regulation that violates youth’s basic rights’.

They pointed out that Korean legislation and judiciary committee passed the shutdown system for online games on April 20th regardless of youths’ strong opposition. They mentioned that it cannot be solved any related issues by separating youths from online games physically without having a clear result of researching on game addiction,

According to the survey that Korean legislation academy has operated, 94.4% of youths said they will deceive the law somehow by stealing adults’ social security numbers etc. and keep play online games during the curfew. This result hinted us that shutdown system cannot be a fundamental solution for adolescent’s online game addiction.

They finally declare that shutdown system must be stopped right away because it is an anti-cultural and anti-educational regulation towards adolescent. They will keep protest through various ways like filing a constitutional appeal and issuing a statement of protest through international association etc.

On the other hand, online game related stocks have not shown any changes even after the shutdown system was passed yesterday. Analysts forecast that “the ratio affected by the shutdown system is limited to 1.9% compared to the total playing time from actual game web sites. Therefore, it will be very limited to damage online game total sales”.