Microsoft and Sony Computer Entertainment of Korea have announced that they will comply with South Korea's new Shutdown Law, which effectively bans anyone under sixteen years-old from playing online games from midnight to 6am.
The Shutdown Law was originally meant to target online PC gaming, but it will now include PSN and Xbox Live as well. This far-reaching government measure has been purposed to prevent online game addiction and late night gaming by Korean youths.
Sony has even gone so far as to prevent players under sixteen, starting November 18th, from making new PSN accounts or logging into PSN during nighttime. (This will become yet another reason for teenagers to lie.) However, with such little time to prepare, Sony and Microsoft have both expressed difficulty in implementing the shutdown systems. Sony has yet to declare how this will impact the PS Vita in Korea.
Since Microsoft does not collect age data from players, Microsoft of Korea is considering shutting Xbox Live for all players during the designated block times.
Nintendo of Korea has not commented yet on how it will comply to the Shutdown Law.
Such a draconian law, of course, has its downsides. Not only does it single out video games instead of television, but children (especially teenagers) will find a way around this. Perhaps it's lying. Perhaps it's logging onto their parent's or older sibling's account. Perhaps it may even create a black market for online gaming. And of course there's the added cool factor of doing something that you're not supposed to do.