South Korea is well known for its influence on the esports community, churning out a large amount of highly successful players and teams. This emphasis on high-level play comes with a cost as South Korea has had major problems with players who use hacks and ELO boost. While the problem is not isolated to South Korea, the South Korean government is looking to crack down on the problem of unfair play in the region. Last year, Korea introduced a law that would slam hack distributors with a $50,000 fine or up to five years in jail time and now they are looking to crack down on account boosting as well.
First reported on ThisIsGame, a Korean esports outlet, an amendment has been introduced that would incur penalties of either of a fine or jail time for players that are found to be boosting accounts for money. ELO boosting is when a highly skilled player takes control of an account that is not theirs in order to raise the account’s rank. The amendment to the “Law On Game Business Development” bill, passed June 12, 2017, prohibits “seeking profit in a fashion that the game business did not provide or sanction, by earning points or achievements so that it disturbs the normal process of games, as well as the promotion/offering of such activities” and penalizes those found guilty with an $18,000 fine or up to two years in jail time.
The argument for the bill is that boosting harms fair competition in games that have ladder ranking systems, like Overwatch and League of Legends, and inflicts harm upon the game’s users, as well as related businesses.
“This bill, if passed, will help create a healthy game ecosystem,” says Assemblyman Lee Dong-seop, “If the bill passes then all those ads for boosting services on the major portal sites will also be illegal.” The extension of the country’s laws, which recently criminalized hacking and hack distribution in competitive gaming, is just another frontier in South Korea’s attempts to create a fair competitive gaming culture in their country.
The amendment must still pass through the Culture, Sports, and Tourism Committee and the Legislation and Judiciary Committee before reaching the National Assembly on December 30th, but if it passes into legislation, boosting for financial gain will become an illegal activity in South Korea.
There have been numerous suspensions handed out to professional players over many games in regards to boosting including Team Impulse’s XiaoWeiXiao in League of Legends and Dallas Fuel’s OGE in Overwatch.
Riot Games Korea has responded to the proposed law positively saying, “boosters are already suppressed within League of Legends, but this law will help us catch them even better once it’s passed.”