Company and developer efforts are often forced to put in varied effort to comply with the rules and laws of release in various countries. However, a blanket policy by Microsoft in South Korea may come back to haunt it as one of the most popular games in the world comes under fire due to recent changes. In complying with country laws and Microsoft’s online policies in the South Korea, Minecraft has become an 18+ game and unplayable to those under 19 years of age.
This occurred recently with changes to the Minecraft log-in system. Where once players were able to log in using their Mojang accounts, Mojang and Microsoft have phased out said accounts and Minecraft now requires a Microsoft account to sign in, even on the Java Edition of the game. Why does that matter? Well, South Korea has a law that demands that players under the age of 16 cannot play online games after midnight to 6AM in the country. This “Cinderella Law” was implemented in 2011, reports GamesIndustry.biz, but instead of coming up with a screening process, Microsoft simply made a policy that one couldn’t make a Microsoft account unless over 19 years of age.
Where Minecraft has previously been a 12+ rated game on South Korea’s Game Ratings Board, but obviously, this policy by Microsoft and the shifting logins for Minecraft makes the game impossible to access unless one is of 19 years or older. It has understandably made many players in the country highly upset, prompting a petition to the government that currently runs over 90,000 signatures strong as of this writing, asking officials to get rid of the Cinderella Law so Minecraft can be played at its appropriate 12+ age rating.
It seems unknown at this point whether or not the South Korean government will relent on the matter. Regardless, while Microsoft may not have meant to block out a large portion of its playerbase, it also seems unlikely that the Minecraft publisher will rework its account policies if it means putting itself in the regulatory crosshairs of South Korean officials. Stay tuned for more on this story as further updates and information become available.
TJ Denzer posted a new article, Minecraft has become an 18+ game in South Korea
The article should have covered in more detail why MS chose 19 instead of 16. That's not clear. Just from the article 19 seems arbitrary.