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South Korea Bans Virtual Item Trading, Black Markets Will Flourish and Prosper

Online bot farming and item trading will be illegal in South Korea next month. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism will be passing a law that makes it a criminal offense to set up automated bots to farm and trade. The penalty will be 5 years in jail and a maximum fine of 50 million won (about $43,000). Well, good luck!

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This isn’t the first time South Korea has cracked down on gaming. The Ministry had a Shutdown Law which bans all players under 16 from online games for 6 hours every night, and a Cooling Off system that logs players off every 2 hours. All this to “fix” video game addiction among the South Korean youth.

IT DIDN’T WORK. Kids just started using their parents’ accounts and played other games when they can’t play.

Surely, they know this can’t work either. Surely.

In the first place, they’re halting all virtual trade “as a measure aimed at encouraging students to not waste time.” This heavy-handed approach will not sit well with other players, especially with the Diablo III Real Money Auction House being so much part of the experience. They probably made it a blanket ban because the age-restriction was too easy to circumvent. How elegant.

Also, just because you can’t sell things legally doesn’t mean you can’t sell things. “We don’t want our kids wasting time on video games, we want them wasting time on video games and establishing illegal black markets!” So much loot with nowhere to go? Someone somewhere will see the profit in this, and then all your South Korean kids will spend just as much time farming and fencing.

There really is no way this is going to work. “The main purpose of the games is for entertainment and should be used for academic and other good purposes,” says Kim Kap-soo, head of the ministry’s content policy division. Well, trading, if anything, teaches rudimentary economics. Your new law will teach your youths how to navigate the seedy underground.

Also, you’re depriving everyone of this:

In case you didn’t notice, that was pure joy.

(via The Korea Times, title pic ironically via diablo3community)

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