The act of boosting – that is, logging into someone else’s account on a competitive game and playing ranked matches to boost the account’s rank – is now against the law in South Korea. While generally frowned upon in those communities, the new South Korean law is making boosting a much more serious matter.
The new law will come into effect in six months, and violating it comes with some strict penalties. Those found to be guilty of boosting could face up to two years in prison or fines of up to 20 million won (around $25,000). Serious indeed.
Now this law isn’t targeting people who help their friends out with a bit of boosting – in South Korea it’s become a whole industry, with businesses springing up to offer boosting as a service for players looking to up their ranks.
While these practices are against the games’ terms of service, there thus far hasn’t been any serious penalty stopping these companies from operating. The most the game developers can do is ban accounts that are discovered engaging in boosting.
The specific act that is targeted by the new law is defined as the following: “an act that interferes with the normal operation of the game by arranging or providing the service to acquire the score or performance of the game in a way that is not approved by the game related business operator.”
“Most of the popular games are suffering from professional dealer game companies,” said Representative Lee Sang-sup, who has long been an advocate for video games and esports in South Korea’s parliament. “It has been a cancerous thing that hurts the e-sports 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 e-sports ecosystem.”