Minecraft is usually rated for ages 7 and up and is a hit with children all over the world. This would also be the case in South Korea, but instead you now have to be 19+ to play it there. Why? Well, Microsoft is now forcing players to sign in with their Microsoft Accounts in a strange accordance with South Korea's shutdown law, which theoretically prevents children under the age of 16 from playing games late at night and losing sleep.
A petition has been launched with SK's presidential office last Friday to officially protest this action. It has over 15,000 signatures and calls for the abolition of the law, with it saying that essentially South Korea is the only country on Earth where you have to be an adult in order to play Minecraft.
The regulation was first put into action all the way back in 2011, but it hasn't been an issue until December 2020 because Microsoft now requires an Xbox Live account--which requires users to certify if they're 19 years or older--to play Minecraft Java Edition. Before the change, users didn't have to verify their ages and could then play as long as they wanted.
The game is actually rated for 12+ in South Korea, but when the policy was created in 2011, Microsoft changed their policy to mandate users be at least 19 years old to play games on Xbox Live.
“Any responsible game company should make adjustments to different systems of different countries when it makes a policy change and make investments to protect its users,” a South Korean ministry official said to The Korea Herald.
This isn't just a South Korean phenomenon either. Yesterday, the company Tencent has recently launched facial recognition to stop minors from gaming at night in China, where children are forbidden by law to game past 10pm.
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