Oh my, Korea bans the trading of in game items

The Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism has announced that it will be banning the trading of in game items.

Officially this is to stop students wasting their time instead of studying. I guess in the West they would ban alcohol but that’s another matter. It’s amazing to think that one of the worlds biggest gaming nations may be considering shutting down one of the most lucrative elements for the game makers. Then one has to consider the amount of wealth generated by the professional businesses that buy, sell, trade the items. It makes a lot of people very very wealthy as well as giving players a real monetary return on the incredible amount of time invested. Most of the time this time is spent in massive multiplayer games.

One of the other aspects of this is the creation and enforcement of laws that will ban people from using bots (programs that play the game for you) to harvest in game items. One of the biggest issues facing online gaming has been the increase in numbers of bots and indeed kids who are employed just to farm items day after day. Often the rewards for the kids are tiny while the company that pays them rakes in a fortune selling the items / in game gold etc online. This will be classed as a crime and with it will come fines and prison sentences. Not minor ones either, 5 years in prison, 20-40,000 USD fines. If caught you are going to regret it.

The other real problem with this ban on selling virtual items is when the internet evolves into one big 3D environment. Imagine Second Life without trading, the currency inside the game was even listed on foreign exchanges. The Koreans will need to do some serious thinking about this law or tie themselves in knots in the long term.

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