Commercial account boosting services are now illegal in South Korea. The practice, which sees people paying for others to level their online game accounts up in their stead, was banned over the weekend. Companies and individuals who provide boosting services can and will be punished under new laws.
The Korea Herald reports that South Korea’s National Assembly recently passed a revision to the Game Industry Promotion Act. The revision prohibits entities from offering paid services aimed at leveling up people’s accounts in online video games. The new law brings steep punishments with it. Those found to be offering boosting services can be subjected to up to $18,000 in fines or two years in jail.
Game companies in South Korea now have legal grounds to punish those offering and advertising boosting services. Representative Lee Dong-sup said, “many popular games have been suffering from professional businesses specializing in boosting without a concrete way to resolve this issue. The newly passed revisions will provide immense support to efforts to forge a healthy esports ecosystem in Korea.”
South Korea is the fourth largest gaming market, with revenue near $10 billion. Games like Overwatch and League of Legends have entire industries built around account boosting, which has led to an imbalance in matchmaking. Making boosting services illegal looks like it will offset these issues, and fits into South Korea’s support of video game companies.
South Korea is a major player in the international esports scene, dominating games like Starcraft and League of Legends. Game companies were unable to negate the impact of boosting, and so this latest law comes to place. The new act will go into effect in six months, giving those entities involved in the practice time to get out of it. It appears that unpaid boosting is still legal, although it is unlikely that any company would go that route.