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This Week In Korean Online Gaming News: From Curfews To Gambling

This Week In Korean Online Gaming News: From Curfews To Gambling

July 15, 2011 | By Eric Caoili

[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 an upcoming lawsuit against the country's "Cinderella" online gaming curfew law, beta testing for popular Legend of Mir 3 in China, and whether random items/drops should be considered gambling.

KAOGI Preparing Lawsuit Against Online Gaming Curfew

The Korea Association of Game Industry (KAOGI) is preparing to file a suit against the "Cinderella" law recently passed in the country, which imposes an online gaming curfew and prevents children aged under 16 years old from playing online games between midnight and 6AM.

Supported by 14 publishers including Neowiz (head of KAOGI), NCsoft, Nexon, Com2uS, and Gamevil -- with more companies expected to join in -- the lawsuit will likely be filed in August, arguing that new shutdown policy, which is meant to curb online game addiction, is unconstitutional.

KAOGI claims that the Cinderella law violates players' basic civil rights and enforces "excessive prohibition" on only a small number of players. The group also points out that that the law is not valid for foreign companies who have published their online titles in Korea.

Beta Testing For Legend of Mir 3 Begins In China

WeMade Entertainment's Legend of Mir 3, the sequel to one of the most popular MMOs in China, began closed beta testing in that country this week. Legend of Mir 2 launched in China in 2001, and once reached as many ay 800,000 concurrent users.

Chinese operator Shanda Games, which also handled the local release for Legend of Mir 2, will publish the Korean fantasy MMORPG, and says it has prepared promotions, conferences, surveys, and more to honor the series' 10th anniversary in China.

"Starting with the beta test, we will make another legend by putting all our efforts into a large-scale festival celebrating the 10th anniversary of Legend of Mir's China service", said a representative from Shanda.

Concern Over Whether Random Items Are Equivalent To Gambling

With Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism planing to set new guidelines for gambling in online games, companies and players are disagreeing over whether jackpot items, or in-game purchases for random virtual goods, should count as gambling.

The new guidelines would set a max amount of money players can bet with, "responsibilities on personal confirmation", limits on payment methods, and more. It would also prohibit auto-betting systems.

Game companies argue that there is "no losing draw" with randomly generated items, but players point out that some items are have less value than others.

The country's Game Rating Board has weighed in, too: "Whatís important is the random itemís value judgement. The companies and players have different points of view."

[This story was written with the permission of, and using material from ThisIsGame Global, the leading English-language site about the South Korean game industry.]

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