Account boosting could soon become illegal in South Korea. An amendment to the “Law on Game Business Development” bill was first proposed earlier this summer, and has now passed the National Assembly Legislation Review Committee, bringing it one step closer to becoming law.
The bill will be brought before the general meeting of Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, as well as the Judicial Committee. If it makes it past both of those hurdles, it’ll then be presented to the National Assembly on December 30. Should it pass there, it’ll become law, meaning account boosting will be punishable by a maximum prison sentence of two years and a fine of 20 million won ($18,000).
According to Korean website thisisgame.com (via Google Translate) the law was originally proposed because account boosting – the practice of paying a more skilled player to improve your rank in a competitive multiplayer game – is “damaging” to both players and developers. Players frustrated by being matchmade with players in lower ranked brackets may simply stop playing games altogether. In turn, players leaving the game can have an impact on the developers’ bottom line.
As well as making boosting itself illegal, the bill, if passed, will also prevent players from advertising their services via online portals. Theoretically, that should have an impact beyond South Korea, as players from other regions may find they have more limited options.
There’s no guarantee the bill passes, of course – it still has plenty of committees to get past. If it does, however, it’s likely to be felt particularly keenly among Overwatch’s competitive community. Dallas Fuel’s Minseok ‘OGE’ Son was banned for account boosting just days after he was drafted into the team, and he’s far from the only professional player to have been punished for the offence.