South Koreans are most famously known in gaming circles for their massive addiction to StarCraft and other online experiences with the games being shown on live TV channels and hundreds of thousands of people tuning into the finals to worship their idols.
So it blows my mind to read this morning that the South Korean government is moving to classify online gaming as a possible anti-social addiction in the same vein as alcoholism, drugs and gambling.
They aren’t planning on outlawing the ability to play online games but they would enable the same safety restrictions that apply to the other anti-social addictions. These would include, but not be limited to, strongly enforcing the age restrictions on games and even non-violent games can be changed to 16 and over only.
They would also ban advertising, taking a certain percentage of revenue earned from the private sector and using it to create a fund to fight gaming addiction.
It’s surprising that such a forward looking country is willing to shoot itself in the foot with the current online gaming experience in South Korea earning more money for the government, via taxes etc, than Gangam style, all K-Pop music, movies and all cultural experiences… combined.
Whether this bill is passed waits to be seen but you can bet your bottom dollar that if it does then the online gaming companies in South Korea, like MapleStory will simply relocate to a new country and only pay the 1% owed on South Korean sales.
Thus decimating the South Korean online video games industry.