SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Korea Bizwire) — The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is set to implement a new gaming law amendment which will scrap the limit on the height of barricades for virtual reality arcade machines and remove restrictions on internet gaming centers, widely known in Korea as PC bangs, that serve food.
The gaming law amendment was announced on Tuesday, and includes a number of guidelines and standards to help gaming businesses to better adopt to new types of games and technology including VR-based arcade games.
Taking effect Wednesday, the latest move by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) will allow internet computer game facilities such as PC bangs to install transparent barricades around VR arcade machines.
Previously, the country’s gaming laws limited the height of barricades set up between computers at so called PC bangs to 1.3 meters from the ground, but growing demand for VR games, which are often played on machines that are usually taller than computers, prompted the gaming authorities to revise the restriction, which will from now on be the sole responsibility of gaming service providers.
Authorities also considered the fact that VR games often require active body movement and that small barricades around arcade machines could be disruptive to players.
Another big change under the new amendment is the removal of the restriction previously placed on the opening hours of PC bangs that serve food.
Despite the fact that the law was ineffective in practice, PC bangs that served food were not officially allowed to operate past midnight, but under the new amendment, the so-called internet gaming service providers are legally allowed to sell food at any time.
While another clause newly rephrased in the amendment intends to push PC bang owners to more strictly uphold age restrictions for computer games played at their business establishments, the amendment also specifies that punishment for gaming business owners will be made less severe when customers younger than 15 are caught playing a game they are not old enough to play.
“Going forward, we’ll continue to communicate and listen to opinions from industry experts and make sure they are reflected in our efforts to improve gaming policy and law,” an official from the MCST said.
Virtual reality, along with artificial intelligence, is thought to be the ‘next big thing’ in the gaming industry in the age of the fourth industrial revolution. Earlier this year, major South Korean company NCsoft announced plans to invest in virtual reality technology at its general meeting.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)