December 2010 Archives
SEOUL--South Korea's government is close to adopting a "Cinderella" law to ban youngsters from playing online games past midnight amid growing concerns about Internet addiction, officials said Thursday.
A bill to be submitted to parliament as early as this month will require South Korean online game companies to cut off services at midnight for users registered as younger than 16, the culture and family ministries said.
"The thing about online games is, once you are in it, it is extremely hard to get out of it, especially if you are a young kid," Jo Rin, a ministry official in charge of the law, told AFP.
"A lot of kids play games all night long and have trouble studying at school and going about their normal lives during daytime. We believe the law is necessary to ensure their health and a right to sleep."
The online services would resume at six the following morning, he said, adding there would be a year-long waiting period until the law takes effect so that companies can prepare for it.
The government is also considering requiring companies to limit young users' access to online games to a maximum number of hours a week or a day if parents request this, said Jo.
South Korea is one of the world's most wired societies, but there have been sporadic reports of deaths related to Internet game addiction.
Last month a 15-year-old South Korean boy committed suicide after killing his mother for scolding him over playing computer games too much.
In February a 32-year-old man died after reportedly playing for five days with few breaks.
A month later police arrested a couple accused of leaving their baby daughter to starve to death while they raised a "virtual" child on the Internet. The baby had long been malnourished, an autopsy showed.
The government, which estimates that South Korea has about two million web addicts, is already launching one campaign to combat the affliction.
From next year, it will offer free software to people at risk, to limit the time they spend on the web.
SAN FRANCISCO--OnLive videogame systems that let people play titles on-demand in the Internet "cloud" will make their debut in the United States in December.
The Palo Alto, California-based firm was taking orders on Thursday for 99-dollar "microconsoles" that will let gamers play major titles such as "Assassin's Creed" streamed to Internet-connected television sets.
OnLive micro-consoles are about the size of a deck of cards and wirelessly link to hand-held controllers.
"This is the device that is going to bring on-demand gaming into the living room," OnLive senior product manager Michael Miller told AFP while demonstrating the system at a major videogame conference in June.
"Plug into the Internet, plug into the TV and you are ready to play the hottest games. This is cloud gaming."
About 35 videogames including "Borderlands" typically played on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 consoles will be available for purchase or rental online when the Onlive Game Systems begin reaching buyers on December 2.
"The OnLive Game System marks the start of a new era for videogames and home entertainment," said OnLive founder and chief executive Steve Perlman. "It also opens the door to a new world of options."
OnLive users can "test-drive" games for free before deciding whether to rent a title for a few days or indefinitely.
Videogame publishers and studios signed on with OnLive get to set their own rates for titles, which can be rented for three days, five days or unlimited "full pass" play.
Rental fees were expected to range from 3.99 dollars to 8.99 dollars depending on how many days, and "full play" passes to top out at 50 dollars.
Packaged disks containing new releases of popular titles for play on videogame consoles typically launch at prices of 50 dollars or 60 dollars.
OnLive took videogames into the "cloud" in June with the US launch of a service that hosts hot titles as services on the Internet, eliminating the need for consoles.
The service let people play videogames online using computers running on Microsoft or Apple operating systems. Controllers typically used in the consoles can be plugged into computers to play OnLive.
OnLive hosts videogame software at whichever of its three US data centers is closest to players to optimize the speed at which data travels.