South Korea MMORPG Gaming Curfew Law Goes into Effect

MMO Curfew

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 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

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the irony is that with battlenet being free, starcraft has no curfew


which is probably intentional

Open rioting would ensue. Not to mention it would also be like banning the national sport from midnight 'till morning.

I've heard on new sites that it actualy would shut down BN. Need more information


Same here


Same here





yea (single post)

Crazy koreans! :P


damn you, blizzard!

No Zergfew for you!

wow, thats something to think about if it ever happened in the US





That would suck. There are some times the only chance I have to get on and play a game is after the kids go to bed and there is noone else awake.

But this is for underage gamers only, right?

damn kids!



Credit card numbers?

I like how it specifically points out is free, since Korea is known terribly well for Starcraft and WoW gamers. I think the idea has some merit, when I was a little kid computer games were lame, even consoles were only tolerable for short spans, but not everyday, I went outside, played with friends, played sports etcetera. Now that technology is so cheap and rampant everywhere, people become attached quickly, kids grasp onto it faster and fail to see the world around them. While the problem is inherently in -parenting- and no amount of laws can change that (short of IQ tests for having children, lawl), the law would probably be wholly ignored in the U.S.

you hit it

I'm FOR it. :(

Good parenting is pretty subjective

You hit it exactlyon the head. It's a damn parenting problem not something to be regulated  by law!

I completely agree.

I second the agreeing.

Gov't is more impersonal. Maybe it's better if they do it and no enmity is bred between parent and child? I mean heck, those Koreans are crazy for their MMORPGs. Guilds killing each other in the streets... Or so I hear.

I completely agree


Ironically, statistics show that the most irresponsible parents are western... in terms of a 1st world country as opposed to a 3rd world country


South Korea is a third world country?

South Korea is a very first world country.

kinda a .9 country.


I am Bill Nighy, and this. Ye gods, please. This.

No thanks to arbitrary paper-based tests of intelligence. It's silly. Though seriously, the people that are popping out babies these days... (a lot of them anyway - no offense to parents :P)



lol, really?

And thats how I feel

Is gaming addiction a huge problem in Korea?

Not sure if what I've heard is true, but the addiction goes pretty far in Korea, as people can actually earn a living off selling higher leveled characters to those who don't want to go through the struggle to do so. I think there's also been a few deaths in relation to online gaming addiction.

The games seem extremely grind oriented and I've read that a lot of them do their gaming in cafe-style settings instead of casually at home which causes the marathon sessions. Anyone feel exhausted after the great hunt?

yeah, but i stopped before it was over

I am far too familiar with the grind style of korean games. It's horrible and eats up a great chunk of your life when you are a kid.

Then why play them?


Excessive gaming and using gaming to earn money e.g. gold farming for people etc etc. is common in other countries as well, not just in South Korea.

Of media addiction, not game addiction. Don't get me wrong, but if a government believes they have the power to step in and regulate gaming, when it should be a parents job too (in which case they must've cheated on an IQ test). But addiction is a big problem everywhere. :|

My parents are South Korean, but I was born North America. I love games, maybe a tad too much, so I had some motivation to actually go and do some digging around on this subject. I don't really want to go into details here but suffice to say, when people have died because they continually played games without sleep, food and water in an Internet cafe, which I note has been filled with people for over 24 hours and NO ONE NOTICES... Something is wrong.

EDIT : As for North Korea, I don't think the majority of them even have access to most such games, so they probably don't have the same problem.

Don't they have school in the morning?!


they should. D:




This seems to be a silly law, as are curfews in general.

You hit the nail on the head there.

hammer and nails make the day indeed.


Having a mandated curfew...silly.

Regulations silly!  This is a job for parents/teachers/managers.


#TeacherRant - I let my students play PSP/Gameboy/Phone games if they have their work done and it doesnt disturb the class, has actually made them more productive at times.

You would think more people would be open to this idea. If they don't need to sit through class sneaking their texts in, they might actually pay attention for more than ten seconds at a time.

well, it happens all over so..

I remember back in high school I had a teacher that did that same thing. Everybody actually got their work done and used this privilige as motivation. The teacher would give it a look-over, make sure it wasn't done just for the sake of playing a game, then give you the thumbs-up if you did a decent job.

I had similar when I was at school, but when work was done we were allowed to read books...

I had a history teacher that use to let us goof off if we got accomplished what he wanted for the day/week. He would also lets us have an day off from lessons when he sensed we where not in ateachable frame of mind. But when he said we really had to buckle down because we where behind we did so ecause we knew he respected us and we respected him. Hard-nose cerfews or authortian rules rarely work long term.

i had a college professor who did the same thing. it made me better.

i think.

well, all of those are hardly effected b the law. The law just covers lat night gaming, so far as I can tell

It's taking away responsability from the parents. This does not belong with any government.

Also, is nobody addicted to non-online games?



I admit that I spent many hours gaming in my childood. This did not help my studies at all, of course. Everything in execess is always harmful, videgames too. The major problem here is that videgames are totally out of control. I am not in favor of any restriction tough, but people play way too much.

is an important part of growing up. These people will probably be more likely to have addiction problems once they are old enough to play without a curfew.

well if i cant play my addictive games i might as well go out and take drugs instead

I would totally be like that if I was banned from gaming. :(


Wtf. Lol

It is sad that such a law is (perceived as) needed. I think it's also no solution, not to mention it is full of holes. Parents should be the ones stepping in here. But their culture is very different than ours. I hope that somehow, this will spark a solution to the problem. But one cannot expect kids, for whom this law is, to suddenly realize they have an additiction problem and seek out help.


Have you not seen them play Starcraft?

gooks (jk:)


would you even say that in jest?



Wow, I like that idea. I'm older and never play during those hours anyways so I think it's kind of funny.

To not live in South Korea

probably better then many other places...

This is a parenting issue not a legal issue.

Definitely a parenting issue not a legal issue :\

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is reportedly using a team of hackers to infiltrate South Korean MMORPGs to gain in-game money in order to sell it for real cash.

Looks like North Korea needs some laws too.

They have laws, just not the good ones

besides, who needs laws when you're the  leader of the country?


Glad I don't live in South Korea!  Oh, and also that I'm not underage.

I think that as the article says, the people who would be most benefitted by this law are probably already circumventing it. Increasing awareness and non videogame activities in south korea would probably be a better way of approaching this problem.


I think prohibition doesn't really work. It's sort of like ignoring the problem. People want to play it a lot not because they can play it a lot, but because they want to! Those who are addicted will still find themselves with a strong desire to play, and maybe even stronger with being limited.

and ti has been proven all over the world that it only creates a new class of criminal. Banning kids from games is the purview of a Tiger parent, not a government.

OH YE- *slams into wall and falls over*

It seems like more of a minor inconvenience than anything. It would suck if you had made a character and didn't like about your age and got really far in that character, but otherwise you could just lie and put your age down as whatever you want - which is what I would do if I had to live under that ban.

Quite a dumb ban

Isn't this like babysitting the people


I'm sure people have found ways around it by now.

These types of laws tend to only enforce a lesson that kids begin learning at a very young age--how to get what they want when they are not supposed to have it. The more an authority figure attempts to impose these sorts of rules, the craftier kids will get in order to circumvent them. If you want to curb internet addiction, a good place to start would be to teach kids why staying up all night to farm pixels is not a good idea.

pass Constitutional muster? The Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed free speech rights for adolescents, but I don't know whether you could argue for gaming as a form of speech/expression. Laws routinely regulate when places of business may be open, and can require that certain businesses exclude under-18s (strip bars, smokey restaurants in certain jurisdictions). So I'm inclined to think that if Congress wanted to, they could mimic South Korea.


Of course, it'll never happen. Republicans would cry government over-reach, and both would worry about being seen as the Grinch for the next generation of voters.

I'm not underage anymore, thankfully. Nor do I live in SK, but still.


Won't work, but interesting try.

Thinking back to the days when I used to sit from 4 PM to 8 AM every day playing games with few hours sleep in between, I actually wish this law was there to help me! Luckily I have a routine now.


lack of self control

This sounds like something the north would do. But, then again, they wouldn't even let games in in the first place.

Don't these kids have parents. If you don't want your kid up so late and playing games.. hello, be a parent and take care of it. Sad you need government assistance to controll your children.


Parent responsibility > gaming.

I'm in the Nintendo generation. I wouldn't be where I am today (idling away at my job reading gaming forums j/k) if it wasn't for the 3-day coding sessions in some computer lab kept alive by saline drips of Mountain Dew...

Education, parenting, health monitoring... not a government curfew.

This is the same reason I dislike arguments for outlawing unhealthy foods.

Remember reading about this a while back, when it was forst thought of.


This would not fly here *hope*

Wait, underage....hrm missed that. Well although I'm a gamer I do believe kids should be limited, but by their parents not the government

Why not limit the time kids spend on the internet gaming? I wouldn't do it but I don't think there is any reason not to. (Here comes the old guy I always hated) Kids seem to have enough trouble focusing on tasks at hand it may be a good idea.

Underage players do need to prioritize but being forced to by the government is a bad idea. What will they do next? Force people to eat a healthy breakfast? Too much government is a bad idea. Look how well prohibition worked.

+1 to leaving this type of babysitting up to the parents

Sucks for those kids I guess.  I'm not surprised by what any country will outlaw anymore.

S Korea has the highest bandwith access of any country in the world, spends the most amount of time gaming to the point of disscecting the equations behind each unit stat in's insane o.o

Unlucky for those kids though...


Yeah, I kind of feel sorry for them..KIND OF.

have no self control


probably not a bad idea

At least it wasn't a ban on Cheetos and Jolt Cola!!!

No need for these kind of laws; this is what parents are there.



Did anyone else notice the people in the pic at the top of this article are obviously American and not South Korean?


What are you trying to say? Koreans look different?


Thats racist.


This seems like an awful invasion of privacy. I PRAY they don't do it here just on morals.

If this is what they do in South Korea, imagine how they do it in North Korea.

a computer? :o The Great and powerful Jong Il family has endorsed no such thiiiing

When I was a kid half a century ago, we had to walk uphill both ways in the snow barefoot and pregnant, without a torch, just to escape that nasty Grue. These South Korean kids have it too easy!

At least you still had Cheetos

 I spent over 12 years in South Korea.  Yes, the gaming addiction has gotten way worse in the last 5 or 6 years, but to legislate personal free time is terrible.  If the gamers want to be addicted, then let them. 


For those of you that say the Korean kids have it easy, you couldn't be more wrong.  They are in school during all daylight hours, and over summers and other breaks that Americans are used to having off.  If anything, American kids have it WAY easier.  Regardless, I say let the gamers game to their heart's content.

Oh god, what?

Craziest thing I've heard in a while...

Isn't there some kind of pending legislation in the US permitting ISPs to limit certain types of internet access as well?  It's coming...

Thissounds like an urban Legend to me.

Welecome to Walmart ^.^

Holy... o.o

please don't let america be next

please don't let america be next

why not, let's force kids to go outside once an a while and use their imaginations by playing with sticks




Their minds won't turn into mush now! Or so they hope.


Their government is getting wayy too much into their citizen's business. It's the parent's responsibility to make sure that their kids aren't playing video games for unhealthy amounts of time.

With so many ways to sercomvent it how affective can it really be?

Wish we had this today. I need more sleep :/

I heard a colleague say he makes his kids hand in their phone before bedtime, and he disconnects their network cables on the router when they go to bed.  

I have something similar. dd-wrt router software lets you filter by MAC address at times of the day.

How upsetting. Those poor children :[

Nice try


I wonder if the Eastern MMO companies are going to be seeing a large dip in profits because of this. Perhaps games like Archaeage - a Korean MMO marketed towards Western audiences - are pre-emptive responses to this type of legislation.

Doubt it

Some people need a curfew. :)

NO matter what you prohibit - it make it the thing people HAVE to do!



This won't solve anything. The people that this law really targets - the hardcore - will get around this, or will just play on an overseas server.

I think this is something you should just leave to the parents, really.




To think something like that would ever even be needed...



I lived in SK for a few years. There are lots of reasons this law is needed and could work but you'd have to know more about the country/culture/history to understand.

This is kind of nuts, but the situation must be bad if they're resorting to passing laws to try and fix it. When you look at other addictions like drugs, alcohol, or smoking, and their effects on children in their formative teenage years, I can understand wanting to keep them away from habit-forming online games in their youth.

BattleNet doesnt ?

I am glad that i have human rights...

I am glad that i have human rights...

Not a gov


I agree.

wants to liquify their brain, why stop them!

Volunteers to hold the mop?

Should not be an issue.


more or less

So glad I don't live in Korea


I've read that Guilds in South Korean MMOs end up killing each other in the streets, and player rivalries/disagreements end in IRL bloodshed. Crazy.

Pretty extreme, but it's a very different culture, too. Nerds are less targetted by social media, it's not a bad thing there. Can't blame parents for wanting to make sure their kids are okay!

Isn't exhaustion from video games in contention for a top spot in national reasons for death? Yeah, curfew law for them makes sense. Let's hobble their gaming skills for the good of the rest of the world. In soviet SK, game evidently plays you.

I don't like kimchi.

Curfew schmerfew.

i just read in yahoo that a kid died from playing D3 marathon, over 40 hours.

I agree to many korean's beat me at counterstrike when I was a kid.

CS 1.6  <3 

That's kind of funny.





When will we get some new articles up? We need some fresh material.

Couldn't agree more :(

culture, sports, tourism, equality, family?... attention? "mini"stry hmm "small" minded?

And so the shadownet grows by leaps and bounds.

There is such irony though that here such attitude is seen as atrocious however in game we have these "ministers of culture" going about doing much the same in game devising where and when players spend their attention. I usually try to rob/kill them when I get the chance for a good chuckle and to put them in their rightful place as scum beneath my boot. You could say we share a "close" emotional bond! :D every time I step *squish squish*

Yeah.. I said it. F*ck em. I can't think of a single south korean thing that I like. In fact, this was such a dumb post, that I knew that I had to get my free bound credit off of it.

I'm trying to decide if I should tell you to stop being so angry on the internet because its like being angry at a black hole or point out your incredibly boarderline racists comment...

well.. wow.

i know how easy it is to fake a chinese identity at the very least. i acquired one to play an mmo that didn't get released in the usa for another year. 

Have you SEEN Hackers? The laws aren't going to do anything if dedicated gamers have their mind set to something.

really glad

koreans are really crazy gamers.. 

Is there not much else to do in Korea?

Is there not much else to do in Korea?

The leaders who made the laws were just upset they were behind the curve on their characters. They figured shutting down everybody else would give them a leg up. The deaths in the cafe's were actually assassinations!


Plot thickens...



It's Korea, and honestly they can make whatever law they want according to their system.


It's pretty well known that you can't legislate common sense.  Nor can you legislate morals.

One question is have, though, is..WHERE THE FRELL ARE THE PARENTS???

Credit comment.

I have no words

poor them

Meh. I would have been one pissed little kid. 

bl inc mass movement from korea

I don't think you should be able to read this article from midnight to 6AM

Gaming is a Choice we all get to make... to restrict kids from that choice is just stupid, the intelligent ones will just get around it, the less intelligent will ask their friends, so in the end, its a waste of paper.


Telephone numbers?  Are they going to call me at 3am to make sure I'm in bed and not playing the game?

I would have hated my childhood in SK

I'd have ignored that like I ignored all my other curfews....

lol at the edit

and, like the edit says, such things are starting to come overseas

old news is old

Dem koreans...

bad execution.

Sounds like a little place I like to call hell


seems to be that this law would cause more problems than it solves in terms of gaming addictions.

Is a powerful thing.




I could go for that some time


It's a cute idea by government, but people will always find ways around it. That's even with Korea's unique and unfortunate ideas about internet anonymity.

Why even bother with a law like this? Serious gamers will get around it.

I don't really agree with this law... It's like having the government barge into the bedroom of my twelve year old self and take the book and flash light out of my hands. Sure I was suppose to be sleeping in the first place but it was my parents job to discipline me. Not the government.

Let parents decide how to raise their children. By time it has been proven that forcing anything always results in contrary behaviour. You tell 15 year old boy that you are not allowed to eat an apple, guess what he will do first - eat an apple.





lol @ kid in the pic.

the pain

i feel so sleepy...

Lol this article is crack up.. would suck if they did that here though...

Seems silly - especially since anyone who it would seem to effect finds a way to circumvent it.


glad to be american