Diablo 3 Launch Held Up In Korea

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Diablo 3 Launch Held Up In Korea


Diablo 3 is facing problems from South Korea's Game Rating Board and that's bad news for everyone.

Compared to some of the videogames that make it to market these days, Diablo 3 [http://www.amazon.com/Diablo-III-Pc/dp/B00178630A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1325777278&sr=8-1] appears to be relatively tame. It's violent and bloody, yes, but mitigated by a top-down perspective and cartoonish visuals, and you certainly won't see anybody killing hookers for a DIY refund or dropping epic streams of F-bombs in the name of gritty, dramatic intensity. Not that either of those are at issue at this particular moment anyway; the problem for South Korea's Game Rating Board is the presence of the auction house.

Gus Mastrapa had a few things to say [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/interviews/9046-Diablo-IIIs-Auction-House] about the auction house last year but the short, relevant version is that it allows players to buy and sell in-game items and even "cash out" by converting in-game currency to real money. This is a problem for members of the rating committee, who see the option to sell items won in the game as a little too close to gambling.

"Committee members are conflicted about what to do with Diablo 3 because of Blizzard's information on the game's 'auction house' feature," a rating board rep told the Korea Times [http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/biz/2012/01/123_102230.html].

The game has already been rejected twice and although it was submitted for a third time on December 22 with the cash-out option disabled, the rep said it still looks dicey. "As it is described in the (re)submission, committee members are still reluctant," he added.

It's not just bad news for Korean gamers. Diablo 3 is intended to be a region-free, simultaneous global launch, with every country in the world getting exactly the same game and because of that, the delay in South Korea means a delay for everyone. That could change depending on how this plays out, but a Blizzard rep stated that the studio remains committed to a global release "in principle."

Concerns that Diablo 3 would violate South Korea's gambling laws first popped up in October 2011 [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/113420-Gambling-Laws-Could-Halt-Diablo-3s-South-Korean-Release], although Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime insisted at the time that it wouldn't be an issue. "You're not risking anything," he said. "You're just investing your time. It's an important distinction." The previous month, however, Morhaime traveled to South Korea for a meeting with Game Rating Board members, the day after which Blizzard announced that Diablo 3 would be delayed into 2012.


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Sixcess

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I've been uneasy about the implications of the real money auction house system since it was announced - not so much for D3 which I'm not really interested in, but if it works for that game how long before it makes its way to WoW, and by extension, to other MMOs?

So I'm kind of hoping the ratings board sticks to its guns on this. Let's see how far Blizzard are willing to go to keep this new concept.
 

Worgen

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Apr 1, 2009
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Whatever, just wash your hands.
If they are lucky then they wont have to deal with the damn marketing hype that is going to accompany that damn game, ultimately I would like to play it but even if I didn't hate blizzard enough to stop me from ever giving them money, the back end of the game would stop me from buying it since fuck having to be connected online all the time for something that isn't technically an mmo, I don't give a shit about your real money auction house or not.
 

Chased

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Blizzard: Bringing gold farming to the next level!

I think the auction house will bring about far more negatives than positives. It will cut down on people resorting to external sources to sell digital goods but on the flip side Blizzard is showing companies that they can squeeze even more money out of their games by having players interact in a real world economy chained down to their company (I'm referring to the auction house "fees" that Blizzard collects).
 

draken693

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Apr 30, 2009
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Seeing how long it took for the Korean war to be negotiated this might take a while.

Seriously though I hope this gets settled soon so we can all start giving them our money.
 

joe-h2o

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Oct 23, 2011
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I was enormously excited about D3 from the time it was announced, right up until the mention of the real money auction house.

My desire for the game almost instantly evaporated. It just seems toxic to me.
 

Gxas

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DVS BSTrD said:
They Thought a top down view was going to be enough?
Silly Blizzard, you of all peoples should know that Koreans only like to see gore...
<spoiler= ...from ORBIT>http://moffling.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/starcraft_1.png
Bahaha, this gave me a pretty good laugh.

I'm still stoked for this game, but I'm nervous about all of the flak the auction house is getting. Are people seriously boycotting this game because of the optional use of real money within it?

I guess I understand it from a PvP aspect, but, maybe I really just am not seeing the whole picture here.
 

Moriarty

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oh god yes please stop the auction house. The moment publishers figure out that they can make more money via ingame economy than they lose for people unable/unwilling to connect to the internet 24/7 forced online connections will be on every game.
 

Marmooset

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This, combined with the demise of Kim Jong Il, now makes South Korea the new bogeyman.
 

Levethian

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Chased said:
Blizzard is showing companies that they can squeeze even more money out of their games by having players interact in a real world economy
You make AH-interaction sound compulsory. I don't feel remotely squeezed. I didn't in Diablo 2 when others were feasting on 3rd party items, and I won't here.

Hopefully 3rd time lucky.
It wasn't gambling in the first instance, as nothing was risked. Now that the pay-out option is disabled, nothing can be gained either.
Are South Korea looking to ban all games with random loot? :/
 

5ilver

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Aug 25, 2010
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This isn't bad news for me, hell it's actually good news. The less asians playing D3, the bigger my chances of making a couple $$ off the game. If players in China, India, etc. have the chance to play, the prices at the Auction House would be beyond pitiful.
 

newwiseman

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I think their real problem with the Auction house is it will undercut the black market digital goods trade, it's not in their best interest to sell digital goods at rates defined by supply.

Edit* I'm pro auction house, real money or not doesn't matter, it will kill the third party trade and hopefully streamline my character profiting from the shit he won't be able to use; before I just held onto good shit for when I got around to making a character that would be able to use it. So long as blizzard never makes me pay a monthly fee to play the game I'm all for it.
 

Kahani

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Andy Chalk said:
The game has already been rejected twice and although it was submitted for a third time on December 22 with the cash-out option disabled, the rep said it still looks dicey. "As it is described in the (re)submission, committee members are still reluctant," he added.
I'm a little confused what they're reluctant about. Chance based drops that can be sold for real money - pretty much textbook definition of gambling and really quite reasonable of them to ban (edit: assuming gambling is against the law to start with of course). Chance based drops that can only be traded in-game and not have their value transferred to the real world - exactly what every MMO and even some non-M MOs do. I was under the impression that MMOs were quite popular in Korea, so what exactly are they complaining about in this case?
 

Zefar

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Gambling would insist you bet something that can be lost. You can't lose what you can't find.

When you sell something you will get that money with a 100% ratio. You will not randomly lose the money you sold an item for.

So this isn't gambling. You're not betting money on items that you'll never see again.
 

darkszero

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Kahani said:
I'm a little confused what they're reluctant about. Chance based drops that can be sold for real money - pretty much textbook definition of gambling and really quite reasonable of them to ban
Spending time to randomly gain money is one thing, but isn't spending money to randomly gain money what defines gambling?
 

ThunderCavalier

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Nov 21, 2009
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First off, I'm not a Diablo fan (because I haven't played any Diablo games, and yes, I have no soul), so this delay doesn't bother me that much.

And, from what I've heard, this Auction House thing bugs me. It just seems like a way that Gold Farmers and whatnot can be manipulated to give Blizzard a profit, which is good for them, since they make a profit out of it, but bad for the in-game economy and for the fact that now Gold Farmers have incentive to keep doing their job and aren't being actively hunted down anymore (since now they're giving Blizzard money).

I'm sure that it could be tweaked to better mesh in-game and irl economies together, but given how the exploitation of any player-run economy in any MMO is not a foreign concept, the auction house seems destined for failure.
 

PH3NOmenon

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cursedseishi said:
Good, let it get held up. The Real-money Auction House is adding nothing to the game, same as the required Online-only service, just like BattleNet 2.0 added nothing to SC2.
You want to argue they are doing it for us to stop those mean old "3rd party" sites? I say bull, they are doing it so they can get a cut of the cash, because $25 sparkle-ponies and $10 reskins of ingame models aren't filling up their swimming pools fast enough.
How is "The market for ingame items will exist either way, we may as well make it legit." not a valid argument? You call it bull, but why? Sure, it might net blizzard more revenue as well but are you claiming it won't impact 3rd party sites? Where's the logic in that?


And also:


cursedseishi said:
You pay a price to post an item up onto the auction house, then when the sale goes through you get charged again for it (essentially losing some of the money made from it). They have yet to tell us just how much each charge will be, and have only mentioned that players get an initial amount of free postings.

And you can lose a virtual item. If the items you just bought were duped (which will happen), they will be removed from your account and you'll probably end up with a suspension on the account (unaware or not it doesn't matter). I also doubt they will compensate you financially for that.
Last I heard, you would pay nothing to post an item up for auction. And Blizzard would charge you nothing for an item you sold. 100% of it is for your pocket... at least for the first 5 transactions per month or so (I don't recall the exact number). After that, they'll take a fixed price out of each transaction. Meaning: They're not touching a regular or 'normal' players, they're specifically taxing the farmers.

Re: itemloss. Blizzard has more experience with this kind of stuff than anyone else. I'm fairly confident that they'll have prevented item duping and that they'll have plans in place in case something does go awry. In short: you may not trust Blizzard to do a good job, but by and large their track record is pretty good.