One month in, a new Korean law banning young gamers from online games during late-night hours is “nothing but nominal,” concluded a panel convened by Korean game news site ThisIsGame.One young Korean pointed out that the law has many workarounds and therefore ineffective. Players can either log in as their parents and continue to play late at night, or they can resort to other games unaffected by the system such as console and mobile games.Under the new law, platform owners and online game publishers are forced to block children under 16 from logging in during a six-hour window in the middle of the night. For technical reasons, only online games are affected, leaving other platforms available at all hours. The idea is to combat online game addiction.Another panel member, a game developer, looked at his game’s metrics and found that the numbers indeed showed that the law has little real effect. The number of users online during late-night hours barely took a hit, he noted. Surprisingly, numbers for adults aged 30-50, whose logins could be ‘borrowed’ by youths, didn’t change either.Two more panelists, from top-ranked Yonsei University and the Korean Cultural Society Institute, argued for new approaches to satisfy concerned parents and social conservatives since the online curfew hasn’t worked. Yonsei’s TaeSoon Park wished for game developers to pursue goals other than business ones, since paid transactions that begin to resemble gambling have allowed Koreans to see games as “proof of maleficience.” Meanwhile, the Culture Society Institute’s KiMin Yang argued that “restriction” is different from “care,” and the new law is an example of the former. Yang expressed a desire to “show the conservative groups” that Korea’s lawmakers are protecting, and not neglecting, children. However, Yang did not give an example of what kind of changes to the new curfew would constitute protecting or providing care.via ThisIsGameBlake’s OpinionIt’s well-known that Koreans take their gaming seriously, but how did that seriousness turn into laws attempting to curb addiction? Scholar Florence Chee may have the answer.Chee, a PhD candidate at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, points out that in Korean culture the member of a social clique who’s the worst at something is to be bullied or heckled, as if that person is the runt of the group. This is particularly evident in circles of young friends who all play the same game, such as StarCraft II. So in an effort not to be the worst player, gamers practice relentlessly, giving rise to the gamer’s stereotype that Korean players take things to the next level. As a result, it appears that young Korean gamers are harassed on all sides. While parents pressure young players to give up games for studying, those youth also face pressure from their peers to be better at their game of choice. As such, the cultural researcher Yang may be right to say that social conservatives see gaming “addiction” in the wrong way – it’s not an irrepressible addiction, but rather a drive not to be the worst guy in the group.