Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fun and (MMORPG) Games

I do a lesson about online gaming with the first graders, so a pair of stories in the Seoul paps caught my eye. The first article concerns a (doomed) government attempt to make teenagers stop playing MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) at the stroke of midnight.
According to the ministry [of Culture, Sports and Tourism], underaged users will be forced out of gaming sessions when online access automatically shuts down as soon as the clock strikes midnight.
The policy also includes a "slowdown" system in which internet connection speeds will be stifled dramatically if underaged users are logged on for a lengthy period of time.

The slowdown scheme will be applied to 19 RPGs, making up 79% of the Korean market. Betcha some heavy-duty "lobbying" went on in that decision-making process. And indeed the very popular Korean-built "Lineage II" game is not included in the plan, even though it is famous for having loads of illegal servers. It is also featured in the typically weird graphic that the Herald placed on the story:

from The Korea Herald
Article #2 comes from today's Dong-A Ilbo, headed Fraud Scandal Rocks Pro Starcraft Gaming, which pretty much says it all. The article explains:
Fabricating wins and losses of online games are conducted through illegal Web sites called “playgrounds.” These sites are operated by overseas-based servers and are known to a small number of exclusive members through online game cafes and other routes. The sites operate on an ad hoc basis by informing Web addresses to members via mobile phones after switching to other servers if a criminal probe is suspected. This makes it difficult to trace their operators. The stakes reportedly range from dozens to thousands of dollars. ...
Pro gamers usually debut in their mid to late teens, and are forced to retire in their mid-20s. Notably, minors on pro gaming teams earn little salary, and find bribes hard to resist. A retired pro gamer who is now a game commentator said, “If young players in their 20s who once lived like a hero start to lose to younger players, they can hardly resist the temptation to make one big bet.”

No comments: