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South Korea bans trade of virtual items, gold farm bots

Item trades "contribute to many problems in society, including teenage crime".

South Korea has banned the trade of virtual items.

The government took the decision to encourage students to not waste time, according to the Korea Times.

A new law will be announced next month that bans all virtual item trades. "The main purpose of the games is for entertainment and should be used for academic and other good purposes," said Kim Kap-soo, head of The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's content policy division.

He said item collecting for commercial use is a "serious hindrance" to creating a "healthy game culture".

The law is the final nail in the coffin for Diablo 3's Auction House in South Korea, where Blizzard has endured a torrid time in recent months. Just this week Korean café owners launched a class action lawsuit against the gaming behemoth over Diablo 3's servers issues and always-online requirement.

Additionally, the new law bans gold farming bots by blocking gamers from using programs that "allow in-game characters to hunt and collect items without the need of a player controlling them".

The Korean government said over 60 per cent of items exchanged on the market were obtained through bots, which were giving online games a "negative reputation".

Break this law and you'll face a 50 million won (around £27,677) fine and a maximum of five years in jail.

The ministry said item trades "contribute to many problems in society, including teenage crime", and felt that a solution was required.

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