South Korean politicians have proposed new legislation that would regulate video games in a similar fashion to drugs and alcohol.
Representative Shin Eui-jin, a member of the conservative Saenuri Party and a former medical professor, says the proposed laws would help promote a “happy and healthy society.”
Fourteen other representatives have backed the bill, which would allow the South Korean government to regulate online gaming, drugs, alcohol, and gambling by controlling their manufacturing, distribution, and sale.
South Korea’s National Assembly has yet to vote on the bill, but there has already been a backlash from the country’s large gaming industry and gamers. One industry representative told Inews24:
“It is regretful that the government views games in the same category as drugs and gambling. [This administration is] talking about a creative economy and yet are constantly trying to regulate one of our leading industries for content business.”
“The governing body shall have the right to regulate manufacturing, distribution and sale of addictive substances and can also limit promotion of them as well.”
That, reports Gamemeca, implies the government could interfere with game development, releases, and promotion.
Many in South Korea believe gaming addiction is a serious problem in the country, which boasts a large competitve gaming scene.
The government in Seoul spends around $10 million per year to fund internet and gaming addiction treatment centers. Previously, Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has attempted to clamp down on gamers who play into the early hours of the morning.