Overwatch is so popular in South Korea that police are being called to prevent underage players from firing up the game at PC Bangs.
Overwatch has been very well received since its launch in May, but its rating in Korea is for players ages 15 and older, locking purchase and play of the game for anyone younger. Naturally, underaged players have tried to find a way around that and have played the game in local PC Bangs, but that is changing, as police are being called by other patrons to report children playing the game.
Various online communities in South Korea have seen PC Bang patrons taking photos of police officers going to PC Bangs to stop underage children from playing Overwatch. The photos aren’t only confirmation shots, but also include pictures from the patrons who called the police. The movement has gained a strange following, with a handful of other photos and reports on display.
In South Korea, a player’s account is tied to their social security number, which means underage players are likely using an account under someone else’s social security number. Under Korean law, assuming another’s identity, even in the case of video games, is a punishable offense. The names of illegal underage players and the schools they attend are recorded by police, and they are forced to leave the PC Bangs, though that has been the extent of the punishments so far.
When underage players are caught playing a game outside their age range, a punishment is also levied against the management of the PC Bang in which they were caught. According to Korea’s Game Rating & Administration Committee, responsibility is put on management for not properly curtailing illegal underage usage within their establishment.
PC Bangs are put in an awkward position where they can’t realistically stop and observe every underage patron at every moment to see if they are playing Overwatch. Some establishments have banned the entry of all children under the age of 15 to eliminate any chance of a problem. There isn’t really a penalty for kids playing games outside their age range, but PC Bangs could face suspensions for multiple reports of allowing underage use of the game.