February 22, 2006

Push-back from South Korean online gamers intensifies, NCSoft forced to take action

Filed under: Gaming — Administrator @ 7:26 pm

Today’s Financial Times (FT) reports South Korean gamers are ganging up on Chinese gamers, whom they view as greedy and rude.

In Lineage, which has more than 3m subscribers, players in the form of knights, wizards and elves chase monsters who drop money and other valuable items that increase players’ strength, such as swords and medicine. These items can be sold for real money through online trading sites.

However, there is an etiquette to be followed: players interact along the way, but you are not supposed to take things dropped by someone else’s monster. Many young Chinese are joining South Korean matches because that is where the most items are traded and where the most money can be earned. But players say they do not follow the unwritten rules.

There have been reports of Chinese [parlors] where gamers play for hours to earn money using South Korean identities. More than 220,000 South Koreans have had their online identities stolen in connection with Lineage, NCSoft said yesterday.

We haven’t fully thought through the medium to long-term implications of this, but it can’t be good, especially because Chinese gaming companies license a majority of their MMORPG from South Korea. One thing is clear, it brings to light both the opportunities and the pitfalls associated to worldwide networking…

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