The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism(MCST)’s selective shutdown system will take effect on January 22.
The MCST discussed with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family(MGEF) who enforces the forcible shutdown system over a range of application of the system and concluded that it only includes big companies who make more than US$26 million a year, excluding whole mobile game firms.
The selective shutdown system is an youth protection law that stops students under age 18 from playing games if demanded by himself/herself or their parents.
Thus the home of online games now has two strong laws that deter the young gamers from playing the online games.
Classifying the targets by annual sales
The criterion is based on the target companies’ annual sales.
Those who make more than US$26M per year now must enforce the selective shutdown as well as self-confirmation and consent of the parents. Those who make somewhere between US$4M and US$26M only need to implement the self-confirmation and consent of the parents while the rest smaller companies do not have a duty to provide such services.
Therefore NCsoft, Nexon, Neowiz Games, Blizzard, and other big companies are required to implement not only the shutdown system made by the MGEF but also the selective shutdown system of the MCST and the self-confirmation works from coming 22nd. Xbox360 and PS3 too cannot evade the law if they gain more than US$26M in Korea.
Such criterion is brought by the consultation between the MCST and the MGEF. The MCST reportedly tried to limit the target within the games played for more than average 2 hours a day, but the MGEF opposed it and insisted to include all kinds of games.
So both ministries drew a conclusion that excludes only petty firms by setting up the criterion of annual turnover.
Industry “Cannot Understand the Criterion”
The game industry stands against the ministries’ action. They raised their voice that it turns the legitimacy of the standard and the purpose of the legislation.
Some doubt that the MGEF influenced in enforcing the law with the standard in order to make its planned bill that collects 1% of game tax from the game industry comes true later.
“Actually, as far as I know, the MGEF strongly opposed the initial standard proposed by the MCST. Consequently they arranged with the current standard as the MGEF wanted. On top of double restrictions, we should see this as a first step toward the game tax,” said a game industry official.
The revised bill of Game Law including the selective shutdown takes effect on January 22, having a grace period of 6 months.