Creating and Distributing Game Hacks in Korea Could Now Land You in Jail
The South Korean parliament has passed an amendment to a previously created law that now states that the creation and distribution of programs that directly violate a game’s terms of service, including but not limited to aimbots and trainers, is illegal
While nothing in the law specifically mentions eSports, it doesn’t take much to come to the conclusion that this is another move made by the government to combat the cheating scandals that plague professional gaming. This also wouldn’t be the first instance of the government taking measures to ensure fair play on the stage, as several notable figures in eSports such as StarCraft II legend Lee “Life” Seung-hyun have been arrested and/or convicted on foul play charges.
Blizzard and Riot Games both have very strict rules when it comes to cheating, with punishments varying from total bans from sanctioned events to multi-thousand-dollar fines. To reference a more recent example, Blizzard’s Overwatch recently saw a mass banning across their servers as they cracked down on the cheating that runs rampant in the community. However, according to a report made by PVP Live, the punishment outlined by the amended law is a maximum of five years in jail or a fine of 50 million KRW (Approximately $42,800 USD), a significant leap from a minor account ban that a player would otherwise receive.
The amended law doesn’t appear to protect those who create harmless mods, which keep games like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls entertaining for long-time fans that invest hundreds of hours into their games, so the law puts developers under additional pressure to carefully word their terms of service with their Korean consumers in mind. As a result, it has come under harsh criticism from both foreign and domestic members of the gaming community, who say that the amendment has the potential to cause more harm than good for the industry now that it puts the law in the hands of corporations.
A certified weeb that passionately live-Tweets his reactions from esports events, Sian is one of those people that hasn’t seen the sun in weeks. You can find him on Twitter @FriendlySenpai