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Another ratings group and 470,000 game addicts, this week in Korean news

Gamasutra rounds up the week's biggest reports on South Korea's booming online games market from local news site This Is Game, including a new game ratings group, high online game addiction estimates, and more.
[Gamasutra rounds up the week's biggest reports on South Korea's booming online games market from This Is Game, the leading English-language site about the country's game industry.] In our latest round-up of news from South Korea's online games space, we look at a new game ratings group set up by the government, plans to review online gaming regulations, and WeMade Entertainment purchasing online action game Lost Saga. 470,000 minors presumably addicted to games The South Korean government's Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism announced that it will begin investigating recently passed and proposed online game regulations this August, reviewing measures designed to prevent and treat online game addiction. MCST said that it presumes some 470,000 minors -- or 6.5 percent of South Korea's 7.24 million elementary, middle, and high school students -- are currently addicted to games, though it's unclear how the department determined that estimate. The organization intends to examine the effectiveness of regulations like the Shutdown Law, which restricts children from playing online games during a late-night six-hour period; and the Selective Shutdown Law, which requires games to block kids if they or their parents request it. MCST vice minister YoungJin Kwak acknowledged concerns about online game addiction, but said that regulations will not solve the problem, and that prevention and treatment are key. He also pointed out the game industry's contributions to Korea's economy and workforce. Another game ratings committee created The Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology has established the Healthy Game Review Committee, a new group of non-game industry officials (e.g. teachers, parents) tasked with reviewing games to classify them according to their violence and nudity content. It's unclear yet if the organization's ratings would affect whether games are released in the country, or whether it will act as a second rating in addition to reviews from the existing Game Rating Board. MCST will provide more information on the committee on February 6. HGRC's creation could possibly conflict with efforts by local trade body Korea Association of Game Industry and partner firms to set up a private group that will take over game ratings from the government's GRB department starting in July. WeMade buys SesiSoft's Lost Saga MMO developer SesiSoft (Chaos Online, Carpe Diem) has sold its free-to-play online action game Lost Saga (pictured) to WeMade Entertainment, the developer and publisher best known for releasing popular MMORPG series The Legend of Mir. Financial terms were not disclosed for the agreement, but WeMade will take over the game's local and international operations. Lost Saga initially launched in 2009 (published by OGPlanet in North America), and will soon launch in China. [This story was written with permission using material from ThisIsGame Global, the leading English-language site about the South Korean game industry.]

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