South Korea to Impose Overnight Bans on MMO Gaming

Wracked by sensational news reports that have made the nation a caricature for games addiction, South Korea is imposing throttling and even six-hour blackouts on 19 MMOs comprising 79 percent of the local market.

The squelching comes courtesy of the nation's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and does allow gamers to choose a window in which they won't have access - midnight to 6 a.m., 1 to 7 a.m. or 2 to 8 a.m. For MMO players with an all-night habit, this measure's clearly meant to kick it for them. Throttling will also kick in if an underage user is logged on for a lengthy period of time.

If you're wondering how the government can do this, it's tied to heavy government regulation and something called a "resident registration number," which I guess is used at all levels of online registration, MMOs included. And the 19 games involved probably aren't happy about having access restricted, but still have to play ball or not do business at all.

It's not to say the measure has no critics; they complain that MMOs are being unfairly singled out and kids will just find a way to get online some other way.

The restrictions begin in the second half of the year. They cover such games as Barameui Nara Maple Story, Mabinogi and the very popular Dungeon & Fighter and Dragon Nest.

The regulation answers a litany of bad press related to gaming addiction in the country, most notably the case of parents who let their actual infant starve while they took care of a virtual baby in an MMO.

Midnight Ban Imposed on Online Games
[Korea Herald via Hot Blooded Gaming]