South Korea MMORPG Gaming Curfew Law Goes into Effect
Gamers are thankful for many things, but underage gamers in South Korea now have one less thing for their list. On November 20, 2011 the country’s Shutdown Law went into effect. Also known as the Cinderella Law, it requires online games to block children from midnight to 6am. The country’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and Ministry of Gender Equality and Family give the law their full backing. They see it as a way to prevent online gaming addiction. But circumventing the law is as easy as being online in the first place. Here are a few of the more popular ways:
This is the easiest way underage gamers find to play online during the locked out hours. The information doesn’t even have to be fake! Most of them use information from the most convenient and readily available sources -- their parents.
North Americans are not bound by such laws, and therefore able to game whenever it strikes their fancy (Editors Note: Thanks for jinxing us), for as long as they like. South Koreans can still play games like League of Legends on a North American server without having to verify a single bit of information.
Systems like Xbox Live and PlayStation Network (PSN) fall under the law because Xbox is not live, and PSN collects personal information. But free games like Classic Battle.net are exempt from the restrictions, and available to gamers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week!
Such laws certainly have merit, especially with gaming addiction on the rise. But is it really a good idea? In the first week after the law went into effect, the Korean Association of Game Industry prepared a lawsuit regarding the curfew, claiming the law enforces “excessive prohibition” on a small number of gamers. The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and Ministry of Gender Equality and Family also seek to have online game companies to create account verification programs. Such a program would require additional information, such as credit card, telephone, and social security numbers. However, any success the government agencies have with their quest to toughen restrictions is in direct violation of the country’s personal information protection law.
Do you feel such laws help prevent gaming addiction, or do they just hinder otherwise innocent gamers? How would you react to such a law in your own country? Answers to these questions as well as your comments are welcome in the space below!
Author: Mitch O'Hara