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Game curfew law one month away, still confuses industryBy
Published : Oct. 23, 2011 - 20:34
The online game industry is still confused about the government’s ban on teenagers accessing online games at night, with it set to take effect in less than a month.
Beginning Nov. 20, those under 16 will be prohibited by law from logging onto online game sites from 12-6 a.m., in a program to fight teen game addiction.
However, two different government branches have been unable to coordinate their position on the issue, leaving the industry without a government guideline on how to implement the ban.
The government needs to unveil any changes it is planning to make to the law at least 30 days prior to implementation. But the undecided factors ― including the range of games that the law will apply to ― are putting the gaming industry in a state of confusion. They say they will struggle to devise ways to accommodate the law.
“The big names in the industry are likely to brace for what is to come, but the smaller firms and the foreign game companies are meeting difficulties deciding what to do with the law enforcement less than a month away,” said an official at the Korea Association of Game Industry.
The official also said that the association would file a constitutional appeal on it within this month.
Earlier this month, representatives of game firms met with officials at the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, requesting that the government excludes console games, flash games, those for test-use and functional games from the banned list.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism also delivered a message to the Gender Equality Ministry, suggesting the exclusion of console and tablet PC games. It said the government should review them again later after next month’s implementation.
Officials at the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, however, said it was still considering the options and that nothing has been decided.
In the meantime, Blizzard Entertainment said last week that it would restrict the use of the older version of its gaming service called “Battle.net” to abide by the Korean law. However, the problem is that the older version of Battle.net is not set up to record the age of the players.
This indicates that many people, including adults, will be prohibited from playing popular games like Star Craft, Diablo 2 and World of Warcraft 3 as early as next month.
“Does this mean those who have worked hard all day should not even enjoy their hobbies after they come home late at night?” said an online game player in an online post. “This is the same as assigning curfews, which is what happened back in the 1980s.”
By Cho Ji-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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