South Korea has officially banned the trade of virtual items, which would make Diablo 3’s Auction House illegal in the country. Blizzard originally sent the game to the Korean rating board without the auction house enabled but it now looks like the RMAH will never launch in Korea.

According to reports, the government took the decision in a bid to prevent students from wasting their time. The law will be set in stone next month.

“The main purpose of the games is for entertainment and should be used for academic and other good purposes,” said South Korea’s secretary of The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Kim Kap-Soo, adding that item farming for commercial gain is a “serious hindrance” to a “healthy gaming culture”.

Of course, the implementation of such a law means that Blizzard’s Diablo 3 Auction House has no chance of launch in the country.

A separate, but related, law has also been passed that bans the use of gold/item farming bots in online-enabled games. Players found using programs that “allow in-game characters to hunt and collect items without the need of a player controlling them” will be made illegal and blocked from internet access.

The punishment for breaking the law will be a 50 million won fine (£27,612) and a maximum jail sentence of five years.

According to the South Korean government, some 60 per cent of virtual items traded online are acquired through the use of bots which gives online games a “negative reputation”.

Source: Korea Times

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