It's been just over a month since South Korea banned minors from late night gaming, but the regulation has reportedly done little to change habits. Introduced by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) and the Ministry of Gender Equality (MGEF), the "Shutdown Law" (also called the "Cinderella Law") forbids children aged under 16 from playing online games between midnight and 6AM.
The legislation is meant to address the increasing rate of online gaming addiction and although it originally targeted MMORPGs, all online genres and platforms are currently affected -- at least on paper, anyway. A panel commissioned by This Is Game believes the new law has had a "nominal" impact on young gamers who find workarounds to continue playing into the wee hours of the morning.
For instance, many kids log in to an account owned by their parents or another adult, according Maemi, a young panelist. Less "privileged" minors simply utilize the lockdown period to fire up offline games. Besides MMORPGs and a handful of other multiplayer-only genres, most online games have an offline component and, of course, there's an infinite sea of single player games on each platform.
The researchers also included game developer JongDeuk Kim, who recorded no change in the number of concurrent users for both youth and adult age ranges -- again, because youngsters just hop on their parent's account. KiMin Yang, a researcher of Cultural Society Institute, acknowledged the futility of the existing law and believes new anti-addiction methods should be explored.
"Restriction and care are totally different. We need to show the conservative groups that we are protecting the youth in different ways, not neglecting them," said Yang, who continued by adding that the country should strive to understand its children better. Meanwhile, Yonsei University professor TaeSoon Park, thinks game developers should pursue less harmful business models.