In South Korea, video games are a powerhouse, out-earning the native films and music combined. Video games in South Korea have a cultural influence like no other, which brings a lot of attention (Good and bad). With headlines like a 3-month old child dying from malnutrition because both her parents were at an internet cafe raising a virtual child in Prius Online, and a 28 year old dying after playing Starcraft for fifty hours consecutively; there is a lot outrage at the industry. That outrage is now taking form as a bill that is being considered by South Korea’s parliament that would classify “online gaming as potentially antisocial addiction alongside gambling, drugs and alcohol”.

Backed by 14 ruling party lawmakers and with support from parents, religious groups, and doctors, the bill would include provisions that would limit advertising “while a separate bill would take 1% of the gaming industry’s revenue to create a fund to curb addiction”. Conservative politicians and parents argue that online obsessions are negatively affecting schooling, families and the workplace.

“We need to create a clean Korea free from the four addictions,” Hwang Woo-yea, an MP in the ruling party, said in a recent speech.

Labeling video games as destructive as drugs and alcohol is a death sentence for the industry according to the game companies. “The 100,000 people employed in the game industry are not drugmakers,” said the Korea Internet and Digital Entertainment Association, representing game companies. While companies like Nexon may be able to weather a 1% lose of revenue, other smaller companies may not; which may result in less foreign games (Both those F2P and those that are not) migrating over to the west.

How will this bill affect those of us outside of South Korea? First, lets hope other countries don’t join South Korea on their campaign against the gaming industry. Since the bill hasn’t passed yet, it’s difficult to speculate on the full extent of how this legislation will affect the industry. Considering the past legislation has included laws that bans gaming between midnight and dawn for anyone under age 16, it’s safe to bet that any future bill will be strict.

Michael Dunaway has been part of the MMOBomb team for years and has covered practically every major Free-to-Play title since 2009. In addition to contributing First Look videos and news articles, Michael also serves as the Community Manager for the upcoming MMORPG, Skyforge.


  1. I honestly don’t believe anything is an “addiction”, more like some people have addictive personalities. What are you going to do; govern people’s personalities? This is absolutely ludicrous.

    • This would be addiction, some people can avoid it by sheer will others succumb to it. A game addiction wouldn’t be the same as a chemical addiction where your brain is convinced your body needs something that it does not need. This sort of addiction is mental, based on an emotional or social impact related to a game someone plays they can easily become so consumed by it other things start to suffer, thus an addiction. The only way to break that cycle from personal experience is to pull the plug and leave it. You won’t have cold sweats or vomit your guts up like you were giving up a physical drug but you still find your self wanting to go back to it. When you struggle or have a really screwed up situation it’s easy to turn to stuff like this as a security blanket. And you are right about it being personality related. If it were someone who could cope easier odds are they could just walk away. I still spend way too much time gaming but at least I maintain a normal(figurative since there is no way to define normal.) life outside of it now. Had several friends who also went through addiction with games, not all being online games either.

      Before anyone judges try taking a walk in the addicts shoes, you don’t know what people go through or what drives them so it’s simply foolish to treat them like crap over something like this.

  2. As a very much addictive gamer I can vouch that it should be classified as an addiction in many cases. People who say otherwise are likely more casual with it, have come into it at an older age with a lifestyle already adapted before hand or are in denial. There are sure to be exceptions to this but From me, and many of my friends who started gaming before we hit puberty competing on ring runs in sonic 2 at 2am on a thursday night, it can and if you aren’t cautious will become an addiction. It’s the perfect escape from troubles in reality and when you make a lot of mistakes you turn to games more and more. I’ve known people who lost jobs and fell out of touch with family over mmos so there’s no denying that it can consume people. And by default that would classify as an addiction. As for how to treat it? Unless the world becomes a perfect place over night or nuclear fallout or some other catastrophe occurs cutting electricity for a really long time good luck with that. You can’t prescribe a happy home and a good job.

  3. What a good idea, shooting your country’s cash cow between the eyes. Apparently they don’t just make crazy in North Korea, the water finally trickled down into the South. Worse yet, it might actually have repercussions over here. Remember stamina? That lil Korean thing where you could only play so long till the game kicked you out? We never had any of that until South Korea started poking it’s nose around… now every mobile game/facebook app/game ported over here demands more money from you if you want to continue playing…

  4. Video games are the nicotin i need to past the day,i play 24h video games so i kinda cant imagine to spend the day whitout playing some games :P~

  5. Sure, videogames are addictiing. No more addicting than shugar, TV-shows and books. And Koreans… Their government should probably consider making their real lives better so that virtual ones won’t be so alluring.

  6. I hate to say this but in the USA all of our media is also pointing out video games are making people into murderers. Look at all of the bad press about FPS games & the ones who played them that committed hideous acts of murder. That kid who murdered his whole family because of Halo. Columbine, all those shit heads played video games.That ass hole at the bat man movie, that dude was whacked & gamed all the time. & what about that young kid who stole his dad’s gun & murdered all those kids in that preschool because he played grand theft auto & wanted to see what would would happen if he shot someone for real. & what about that US mail clerk that chopped up his coworkers with a Katana & the police found out he played WOW & Diablo. The list goes on & on. I knew a few people who were totally addicted to Ever Quest & WOW, They would even piss in a bottle just so they didn’t have to get up from their PC when gaming, Their places of living became utterly revolting. They would lock themselves in a room for weeks at a time & play games. They totally alienated themselves from our circle of friends because they had 6 raids to do that day & loose their very well paying jobs for a game. I have seen it with my own eyes & I could never understand why. So I would have to say yes they can be addicting for the weak minded & are definitely up there with gambling. But the fact remains that it is a million dollar industry & the gaming train will keep on moving until governments decide to make it illegal. I am 43 & I love my games & I do spend like 15 to 20 hours a week PC gaming & I play table top D&D with my friends on Sundays. That might sound like a lot to others but if you asked me sometimes gaming can keep you out of trouble & when you are board with everything else It’s fun to escape from reality every once in a while to blow shit up or go on an epic quest to slay a Demon or a Dragon. The media can point the finger at anything they want & make it seem really bad to the masses. It is the same as blaming Ozzy Osbourn for killing that kid because of his song suicide solution. For the people of the world that are totally whacked in the head should not play games but who’s to stop them. No one can & the media of the world is going to say Games made me do it or my son died because he didn’t eat for days because of WOW. It’s not the games fault it’s the fault of the person that is whacked in the head & can’t get his/her priorities straight & are all ready mentally challenged. As for parents That are blaming games making their kids whacked in the head well maybe your kid was all ready whacked & you never took notice &/or didn’t care to notice it & maybe it’s the parents fault?
    I say Blame the media for blowing crap out of proportion & blame parents for not giving a damn or not helping their mentally challenged children. If your child comes home with a string of dead lizards form the needle & thread from your sewing kit at the age of 5 you better take notice! LOL. XD

    • almost every one plays video games….
      while it dose happen that some one can be effected by games/music/movies/tv…. saying that because all of them played games it is the reason they did what they did isn’t right.

      its like saying cowboys like horses because they listen to country music…

  7. Wow, this is ridiculous, I doubt the kid really died because of the parent’s gaming, that sounds more like neglect, as for the other guy again i doubt he died from playing as well, maybe he was high/drunk as shit, or sick, it’s not like the games choked them in their sleep out of jealousy.
    Some people need to get smacked in their face though, i love video games but i never spent so much time in them, that i just ignored everything else in my life. and I’ve played a lot.

  8. Talk about a stupid bill. Prohibition didn’t work, fda marijuana control doesn’t work. It is impossible to restrict something so massive like gaming in a free market society. Politicians like to put the blame on nonsense things like video games, in order to draw away attention from actually ‘addictive’ things that kill like alcohol and tobacco.

    • It’s a start and why not. Whos going to pay for locations that help with the addiction if they don’t take that one percent? even if it isn’t that effective, it pulls them away from the TV/Monitor and possibly give them enough motivation to at least cut down some hours. Something is a better than nothing. Even if the politicians are taking in some profit in, they’re still building those centers anyway with that money and keeping it open. Why not have them get paid a little bit for it?

      Tobacoo and Alcohol has been around for tooooo long >_> and you think no one was trying to fight for that? it is one way the states make money when taxing items where you live. Not happening.

  9. Korean MMOs are a cancer to the F2P industry anyway. Good riddance, I say.

    The likelihood of this affecting us in the west is slim to none, considering how previous anti video game legislation attempts have ended in the past.

  10. I mean, I won’t deny the fact that video games are addicting. They honestly have every right to do it. Video games can in fact ruin peoples lives. Sure did ruin mine. Haha.

    • Anything can be addicting depending on the person, for those other people who kept working non-stop are called workaholics and there are cases where people are ruining themselves because of work and yet they don’t put a “bill” for that as if its drugs, video games may be one of the common addictions but with a little restriction, it shouldn’t be to severe. I kinda doubt those people making laws even know how to handle something like this so I’m kinda worried what stupid things they’ll come up with.
      Although I already know the “World” IS stupid to begin with.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here