Here’s another blow to Diablo III‘s real-money auction house — if you live in South Korea, that is.
The South Korean government has taken the exceptional step of banning trade in virtual items, as well as botting. Starting next month, violators will face a fine of up to five million KRW, which is equivalent to about $4,000, or a five-year stint in prison — where the download speeds are so low, you’ll actually welcome an Error 37 to break up the monotony.
According to the head of the country’s content policy division, the new law will be enacted because:
“The main purpose of the games is for entertainment and should be used for academic and other good purposes.”
Other statements say that sale of virtual items leads to increased time-wasting (duh) and teenage crime. Maybe they’re talking about PK-ing?
“For arcade games, game providers will be unable to list in-game items in their accounts as property, or handout gift certificates for item purchases. In 2007, the then popular arcade game Sea Story handed out certificates that were quickly exchanged or sold for cash, and the government is concerned that a similar incident may reoccur.”
I’m not sure how you get from “arcade game handing out tickets” to “selling virtual items from PC games” — could it be that South Korean lawmakers are even more daft about video games than their American counterparts are?
Of course, D3 isn’t the only game where people will buy and sell virtual items for real money — it’s just the one where it’s most legal under the terms of the EULA.
But what do you think about the government taking this kind of step? And do you think it could ever happen in North America or Europe?