South Korean kids under 16 will no longer be able to access Xbox Live between the hours of midnight and 6 am.
Online gaming is a pretty big thing in South Korea, so I’m told, to the point that the South Korean government saw fit to enact a “Shutdown Law” in November 2011, banning teenagers under 16 years of age from playing online games between 12 am and 6 am. The law was originally aimed at MMOs but grew to encompass other online gaming in its final form.
Sony announced shortly before the law took effect that it would prevent under-16 gamers from connecting to the PlayStation Network and now Microsoft, which was given a two-month “grace period” to figure out how to implement a similar system of its own, says it will now begin blocking underage gamers as well. It’s bad news for the kids but good news for everyone else, as Microsoft was initially thinking about shutting the service down entirely during the six-hour blackout rather than having to deal with the complexities and hassle of coming up with a functioning age filter.
Good on Microsoft for figuring out the complicated process of checking birth dates in user accounts, but there’s still the question of how the new rules will handle people who just lie about their ages when they sign up for an online gaming service. Just like conventional age gates, the system works perfectly as long as everyone involved is completely honest. But if some 15-year-old kid decides he really wants to play online at 1 am and he’s not too attached to his gamer ID to let it go? I can’t see this law will do much to stop him.
You know what would stop him? Parents who tell their kids to turn it off and go to bed, and then make sure it happens. Crazy idea, I know, but maybe someone should give it a try.