New bill groups games with drugs, alcohol and gambling

South Korean MPs plot to regulate ‘addictive online games’

A South Korea politician backed by 14 MPs has proposed a bill to labelling online games as a source of addiction and calling for the strict regulation on the sector.

Gamemeca reports, as translated by Kotaku, that Saenuri Party MP Shin Eui-jin has grouped online games with addictive substances such as drugs and alcohol, as well as gambling.

It is claimed that the bill states the governing body should be able to “regulate manufacturing, distribution and sale of addictive substances and also limit the promotion of them".

This could result in more stringent rules on the type of content developers can create in South Korea, and may also affect the marketing of online games.

“It is regretful that the government views games in the same category as drugs and gambling,” said one developer to Inews24.

“The previous administration viewed games negatively, and it’s the same with the current administration. They are talking about a creative economy and yet are constantly trying to regulate one of leading industry for content business.”

The bill comes after a small number players in South Korea and the surrounding region are said to have died as a result of playing games for an extended period of time, with competitive gaming a hugely popular sector in the country.

In 2005 a 28-year old South Korean man died after playing a game for 50 hours. In 2009, it was also reported that a three-month child died of malnutrition after parents neglected the girl after playing an online game in which they raised a virtual child.

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