Korea’s National Assembly announced on Dec 10th that boosting services are now criminal and the law will take effect in 6 months. Boosting is a big issue for gamers in South Korea. It is when a high-level player get paid to log into a low skilled player’s account and helps them to achieve a higher rank or increases their stats. Those found guilty of offering boosting services will be facing a two-year prison sentence or a fine up to CDN 23,882 (20 million won) which is pretty serious especially when it’s gaming.
Some players have commented about boosting such as, SpiralStorm who said that low-rank players that are boosted are just a huge weight for the team and out skilled. Jeff Kaplan, the director for Overwatch, also said that boosting is unacceptable and penalties will be increased. The amount of boosting services and the incidents that happen in the Overwatch and LOL community are significant. Boosting is blamed for breaking the game systems that create fair and fun competition between well-matched players.
The representative of South Korea’s parliament, Lee Sang-Sup said, “Most of the popular games are suffering from professional dealer game companies, It has been a cancerous thing that hurts the esports ecosystem as well as the casual gamers as well as the general users. But now that the amendment has been passed, it will help to create a healthy esports ecosystem.”
South Korea is the fourth largest gaming market and South Korean teams have taken home many championship titles including in the last three years of the Overwatch World Cup. Overwatch is huge in South Korea and some professional players have already been suspended due to boosting. Kim “Sado” Su-min was suspended for 30 games for the practice and Son “OGE” Min-Seok was also suspended for four Overwatch League games after being found guilty of boosting.
Gaming companies are also contributing to the fight. Ubisoft and Blizzard, had already started banning players before this law was announced but typically only for a week or a month. One of the well-known games, Tom Clancy Rainbow Six Siege, started to ban players for inappropriate slurs, hacking and boosting by giving them a permanent ban. Blizzard has started working alongside with South Korean authorities to target and put an end to illegal programs within the gaming communities. Blizzard now requires Korean players to input their social security number in Overwatch to prevent cheating.
South Korea’s boosting law is a strong attempt to end boosting. With this change, Korean gaming companies have legal grounds to punish actors who advertise or offer paid boosting services for players in order to regulate and maintain a lucrative esports culture.