[Gamasutra rounds up the week's biggest reports on South Korea's booming online games market from This Is Game, the leading English-language site about the country's game industry.]
In our latest round-up of news from South Korea's online games space, we look at a new law and system designed to combat online game addiction, the popularity of Blade & Soul
's open beta, and more.
Parents will be able to decide when kids can't play online games
South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism will add to the growing list of measures designed to combat online game addictions on July 1, when it implements a system that prevents children under the age of 18 from playing games during a period that parents or legal representatives set.
Known as the "Selection System of Game Availability Period," this anti-game addiction measure will be applied to over 100 online titles like League of Legends
, and StarCraft 2
. It's part of a new law that applies to game makers that have over 300 employees and more than $27 million in annual revenues.
The law does not apply to console titles or completely free games. Games like Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo 3
and NCsoft's Blade&Soul
are not required to support the system either, as only players who are at least 18 years old are allowed to play those titles.
Various government departments have sought similar systems in the past to prevent online game addictions with kids -- the country previously passed a "Shutdown Law"
requiring online games to block children from playing during a late-night six-hour block.
Riot Games makes big donation to preserve Korean culture
League of Legends publisher
Riot Games Asia will donate $432,900 to support the preservation works and help improve the facilities of Korea's Cultural Heritage Administration. It will also cooperate with the agency to educate children about Korean cultural heritage.
The majority of this donation comes from the revenues Riot Games Asia earned by selling Ahri, a country-exclusive League of Legends
character based on a figure from local myths, when it launched the game in Korea last year
Blade & Soul open beta drawing plenty of players
NCsoft's highly anticipated MMORPG Blade & Soul
(pictured) launched its open beta earlier this month, and managed to bring in over 150,000 concurrent users in just an hour -- it eventually attracted more than 240,000 concurrent players.
The rush of players forced NCsoft to increase its number of servers for the game from 2 to 32. Blade & Soul
has also become the most popular game at PC Bangs -- or Korea's popular internet cafes -- ahead of Diablo 3
and League of Legends
[This story was written with permission using material from ThisIsGame Global, the leading English-language site about the South Korean game industry.]