Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Games Lights Go Out at Midnight

The South Korean government wants to limit the time children of school age spend playing online games barring online gaming access between midnight and 8am. The also want to degrade the individual’s internet connection after they have been logged on to certain games for a long period of time. Parents can also choose to be notified if their identity is used online. The Culture Ministry expects games developers to implement the plans.

In a backlash to the recent horrific story where a couple spent some 12 hours a day in internet cafes raising a virtual child online while their real baby daughter starved has made the headlines. The couple were charged and found guilty of negligent homicide.

How can the government succeed? How do you know who is playing what, when and for how long?

The answer is that South Korean national identity numbers are used by all young and old and are seen as the means of identification. The Korea Herald reports that 3 popular virtual world games, Barameui Nara, Maple Story and Mabinogi, intend to introduce the curfew later this year and "Dungeon and Fighter" and "Dragon Nest" will pilot the connection slowing scheme. Surprisingly a total of 19 role playing games which represent the majority of the online gaming market in the South Korea will join the initiative.

However honourable the initiative is the identification is down to an ID card which can be borrowed, stolen and no doubt spoofed. It hoped that they don’t switch off all the lights after midnight, or don’t stop someone reading for too long. It will be interesting to hear from the market when we are there next month to speak at their Book Fair.

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