Minecraft becomes an adult-only game in South Korea courtesy latest Microsoft declaration. The famous sandbox-survival game by Mojang studios is top-rated in every part of the world. South Korea is no exception to this love for the game. Minecraft is especially popular among the kids who can use their creative imagination to build and survive in the game. However, recently Microsoft has imposed a ban for all under 19s from playing South Korea. Naturally, this has sparked a whole lot of controversy across the country. The ban has nothing to do with any of Minecraft’s in-game content. Minecraft, is in general, a child-friendly game with 7+ age restrictions in most countries. Therefore people are quite surprised at this decision by Microsoft.
About The Ban
The age restriction by Microsoft will not allow anyone below 19 years of age in South Korea to play Minecraft. This means only adults above the age of 19 will participate in this famous sandbox-survival video game. Many were anticipating this has something to do with Minecraft’s gameplay. However, that is not the case. The ban comes directly from Minecraft’s publisher, Microsoft. Minecraft has recently started to relocate all its player accounts to the Microsoft database. Thus, Microsoft will now provide access to the game. This means players will require an Xbox Live account to play the game.
Players below the age cannot create the Xbox Live account in question for an under-aged player. Furthermore, it will block the access id immediately without proper age verification. Thus, players under the age of 19 will not play Minecraft in South Korea. With all these hassles, it is also difficult to participate in any engaging gaming activity.
As only players above the age of 19 can create an Xbox Live account, under-aged players have no choice but to quit playing Minecraft. Earlier players could directly sign in to the game from Minecraft’s account. They would play all day and night. That is the addiction level of this game. This decision by Microsoft is sure to dampen the spirit of many. However, according to Microsoft, this decision is only to comply with the laws. There have been previous instances when a game is banned due to some intricate laws. Many games have banned underaged players from playing earlier also.
Why Such A Decision?
People are brainstorming to find out the exact reason behind this decision. However, according to Microsoft, it is guided by an old law prevailing in South Korea for a long time. As Minecraft is transferring all its player databases to Microsoft, players now require an Xbox Live account to set up the game. And players are unable to create new accounts as the platform requires 19 plus age clearance from Microsoft for interaction. The decision to impose this age restriction is to honor an existing law in South Korea regarding children’s gaming habits. The law in question is called the cinderella law. It is also known as shutdown law, imposing a gaming curfew for underage players and minors in South Korea. The law dictates that no minor under the age of 19 can play any video game from midnight till 6 the next morning.
Several companies have come with added security settings and updates to carefully filter the age group of the players and impose restrictions accordingly. But the problem with Microsoft is that they failed to implement the same strategy. Instead of figuring out a constructive model, Microsoft decided to restrict all under-19 Xbox Live accounts, Thus as a result, not only under the game curfew but after it too, South Korean kids cannot play Minecraft now. Many have criticized Microsoft for their lack of judgment and urged them to develop a solution regarding the problem. There is no denying the fact that children are more susceptible to any distractions. The gaming curfew was imposed to shift the children’s attention more towards studies. Also, it was supposed to lower down the game addiction among the children.
What Are The Experts Have To Say About This?
Most experts are indirectly pointing the blame towards Microsoft for this ban. According to them, the gaming curfew is only meant to be implemented from midnight till early morning. Thus it is not fair to restrict the children from playing games even during the day. Many have pointed out how other games have internal facilities to prevent entry to any underaged player during midnight only automatically.
But with Microsoft, they have altogether banned any under 19 Xbox Live accounts. Others have taken to social media to explain the situation. According to analyst Daniel Ahmed, the curfew law in itself is not perfect. He has remarked how there are many workarounds available to bypass the law. This naturally questions the effectiveness of the law.
Daniel Ahmed also added, “The Shutdown law in South Korea, which prevents minors from playing games between midnight and 6 am, has become increasingly controversial. Microsoft never implemented a technical solution for Minecraft, so you need to be 19 to register an Xbox account and play in the country.” He has also expressed his belief in a future amendment of the shutdown law. “Other games do comply with the shutdown law and have implemented technical solutions which block minors during the designated time. There are movements dedicated to eradicating this law, which is not very effective in 2021. It will probably be amended in the future.”
Controversies Surrounding The Ban
Along with the experts, common people and gamers have also raised their voices in protest against this decision by Microsoft. The existing shutdown law was already creating much tension among the gaming population of the country. In addition to that, Microsoft’s decision has sparked new flames of anguish among the people. Many have pointed out that Minecraft is an entertaining game and an important educational prospect in schools. Teachers have used the game’s unique sandbox-style gameplay to incite imagination and creative thinking among students. Particularly in Korea, many schools have been following this method of gaming education.
Being an open-world game, Minecraft helps to sharpen student’s problem-solving skills and creativity. But with an age restriction being imposed on the game, people speculate whether it can still be used for educational purposes. Playing from an adult (teacher) account may help, but that raises questions on right and wrong. If the game has banned minor participation, then bypassing that ban should be deemed illegal.
Koreans have come in support of their children regarding the issue. They have voiced their distrust of the shutdown law altogether. Parents were quick to point out that the law only talks about PC games, while mobile gaming is also mainstream nowadays. A unified petition is posted on the official presidential website to abolish the law. The petition has already accumulated over 100000 signatures.