Sony Computer Entertainment Korea today announced that they would be taking the PSN offline for underage players. This is in compliance with the Shutdown Law in South Korea which prevents underage players from gaming for a six hour block at night. The law was originally intended for online PC games, but it appears to have extended its reach and now includes consoles, thus affecting both Sony’s PSN and Microsoft’s Xbox Live.
The law was designed to help prevent underaged youths from being addicted to gaming, and would basically prevent access for underaged players from 12 midnight until 6 in the morning. Sony and Microsoft have both expressed that it will be difficult to implement such a system in such a short period of time, and come 18th of November, Sony will be blocking off access to PSN for players under the age of 16, and will not allow new accounts to be made for underaged players as well.
Microsoft on the other hand faces a slightly more complicated situation. Since Microsoft in Korea does not collect age data for all their players, it will be hard to filter out the underaged from those legally allowed to play during the shutdown time. While no concrete plans have been made, Microsoft has entertained the idea of shutting down Xbox Live in Korea during the shutdown time frame, which seems a bit drastic.
Both methods by Sony and Microsoft seem awfully inconvenient, especially for gamers above the age of 16. For the sake of gamers in South Korea, let’s hope that both Sony and Microsoft quickly implement a system that will comply with the Shutdown Law while not inconveniencing the rest of their players.