South Korean Politicians Still Think Video Games Are Drugs

In South Korea, some politicians (certainly not all) seem to have it out for gaming. These politicians want video games in the same category as alcohol and even illegal drugs.

Last month, for example, Hwang Woo-yea of the majority conservative Saenuri party talked about rescuing "society from evil." ThisIsGame (via tipster Sang) quotes Hwang as saying:

According to the Ministry of Welfare, four major categories of addiction where medical treatment is needed are 2.18 million alcoholics, 0.47 million internet gamers, 0.59 million gamblers, and 0.09 million drug addicts. The sum of them accounts for 6.7 precent of the population which adds up to 3.33 million people. This country has to be be saved from the four major addictions. We have to understand the pain individuals and families of alcohol, drugs, gambling, and game addicts go through, heal them and provide them with a proper environment so we can save our society from these evils.

Hwang went on to call for strict regulations for game developers in South Korea. Obviously, the country's game industry doesn't seem too happy about this.

The addiction bill hasn't passed, but the country's conservative Saenuri party keeps pushing it. And since this is the majority party, things do not look good. The country's leader, President Park Geun-hye, is in the Saenuri party.

And in South Korea, there is a "Shutdown Law" that has made life difficult for gamers.

This sort of talk isn't new in South Korea. Earlier this spring, a bill was introduced by this same political party that said video games needed to be strictly regulated like drugs and alcohol. Last month, Hwang called for the passage of this bill.

Then, late last month, ETNews reported that South Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare even began trying to assign "disease codes" for addictions like "internet" and "games." This, in turn, would classify them as mental disorders. And that could probably help the passage of this legislation.

In a country where gaming and eSports thrive, these politicians and bureaucrats seem out of step. Or maybe it's because gaming thrives that they want to regulate them more, presumably trying to take a cut. Whatever the rationale is, these politicians make Congressman Jun Byung-hun, who once cosplayed as a League of Legends character, that much of a closer ally for Korean gamers.

국민 대다수가 즐기는 인터넷게임을 질병 유발물이라니 [ETNews Thanks, Sang!]

새누리당, 4대 중독 척결 대상에 '게임'도 포함 [ThisIsGame]

Photo: SeanPavonePhoto | Shutterstock

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