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Korea bans online game item trades

Details to be announced next month

According to the Korea Times, Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) announced that it is planning to ban the trade of commercial game items, in order to keep students from wasting time.

Details will be announced sometime next month, but apparently all virtual item trades will be halted. "The main purpose of the games is for entertainment and should be used for academic and other good purposes," said Kim Kap-soo, head of the ministry's content policy division.

The Ministry said that the law would prohibit users from using programs that allow in-game characters to hunt and collect items automatically, without player input. The Ministry determined that over 50 percent of the items exchanged on the market were obtained by automated programs. Item trades contribute to many problems in society, according to the Ministry, including teenage crime, and therefore need to be halted.

Violators face up to a 50 million won fine (about $43,000, or £27,600) and a 5-year prison term.

The crackdown would also affect arcade games in Korea, which will be barred from listing in-game items to attract buyers. MMORPGs and other games that are free-to-play and depend on virtual item sales may be shut down, or will need to find other ways to monetize.

Given the huge importance of gaming in Korea, and the prevalence of virtual items, it seems like a safe bet that there will be some forces working to keep this law from going into effect.

Latest comments (7)

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game4 years ago
Is Korea a single country now? When did that happen?
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 4 years ago
I don't think it's too hard to figure out which Korea they're talking about.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game4 years ago
Probably not, but it wouldn't hurt to say.
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Show all comments (7)
Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
I guess, but you know; one Korea has videogames, the other barely has anything to eat.

Back to the topic: will this affect Diablo III? I guess so, I wonder how anyway...
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André Bernhardt Free Bird, IndieAdvisor4 years ago
I am not quite sure wether "bots" will be forbidden or item-trading?
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 4 years ago
The way the Korean article is phrased, it sounds as if botting is not forbidden under threat of five year imprisonment. Same goes for selling those item codes on Ebay you got during the latest convention.

All this is done under the veil of protecting the youth. Regardless of botters being the only people with enough time to learn on their hands, should they play f2p games.

This sounds more like a law heavily lobbied for by publishers operating f2p games. Also a law targeted at blizzard's most recent monetization strategy.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Klaus Preisinger on 15th June 2012 1:50pm

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Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios4 years ago
The Ministry said that the law would prohibit users from using programs that allow in-game characters to hunt and collect items automatically, without player input. The Ministry determined that over 50 percent of the items exchanged on the market were obtained by automated programs.
I think this section right here is referring to bots. Exchanged on the market? What market? What game? I think the ITC needs to forget about this Microsoft vs Motorola BS and pay more attention to this. If this law is not written carefully, it could seriously damage United States business as well as others around the world that monetize through legit means.
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