Hysteria over children being led astray by the temptations of MMORPGs has prompted Korea to enact legislation banning youths from late night MMORPG sessions.
A supposed epidemic of “game addiction” reaching 7% of the nation’s schoolchildren, some 510,000 children, has prompted the government to ban underage players from playing a selection of popular MMORPGs, including “Maple Story,” “Barameui Nara” and “Mabinogi.”
The ban is to be implemented by forcing gamers to choose a 6 hour period running from 12AM-6AM, 1AM-7AM, or 2AM-8AM.
Additionally, game makers are gradually being forced to implement “fatigue” systems in RPG titles, reducing drop rates or similar if the player spends a long period in game.
19 games are to be included in the “fatigue” system, thought to cover some 80% of the country’s market for online games, though some have noted that such popular titles as Lineage have escaped inclusion for now.
Korea’s legislation is similar in scope to that adopted in China, which has long scapegoated games as subversive elements, placing the nation in good company indeed.
The Korean government and mass media appear silent on the issue of whether parents actually bear any responsibility for what their children do at night – it seems not.