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Minecraft implements age restrictions in South Korea

Newly enforced requirement to log in with an Xbox Live account limits player base to those 19 and up

Minecraft has become an adults-only title in South Korea, as reported by The Korea Herald.

Mojang Studios' popular sandbox game is recommended for ages 12 and up by South Korea's Game Rating and Administration Committee, but the paper reports Microsoft recently informed South Korean users that they would need Xbox Live accounts -- which are restricted to those 19 and older -- to continue playing.

The move appears to stem from the 2011 "Cinderella law," which prohibited children from playing games between midnight and 6 am. Rather than add that kind of screening functionality to Xbox Live, Microsoft changed its policy in 2012 to mandate users be at least 19 years old.

Despite that, Minecraft has until recently allowed users to sign in with their Mojang accounts, sidestepping the need for age verification.

In response to Minecraft now only being for adults, users filed an online petition against the "shutdown law" to the office of the president.

"Korea's game market is at the risk of being the world's only place where Minecraft is labeled as an adult game," the petition said.

The Korea Herald reports that as of July 4, the petition has been supported by over 15,000 Koreans.

As of this writing, Microsoft representatives had not responded to a request for comment.

Update, July 7, 2021: A Microsoft representative responded to a request for comment, saying, "We are proceeding with the global migration of Mojang accounts to Microsoft accounts for Minecraft: Java Edition including for our players in South Korea. We're working on a longer term solution for existing and new players under the age of 19 in South Korea and will have more to share on this later this year."

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Jeffrey Rousseau

Staff Writer

Jeffrey Rousseau joined in March 2021. Based in Florida, his work focused on the intersectionality of games and media. He enjoys reading, podcasts, staying informed, and learning how people are tackling issues.