As reported by The Korea Herald (via gamesindustry.biz), Microsoft recently informed Minecraft users in South Korea that they would need an Xbox Live account to continue playing the game. Xbox Live accounts are restricted to those 19 years and older in the country. Users got around this restriction by logging in to Minecraft, which is officially classified as a 12+ title by the country’s Games Rating and Administration Committee with their Mojang accounts, but it looks like Microsoft has now removed this option.
The move appears to be related to South Korea’s Cinderella Act, which bans children from playing games between midnight and noon. Instead of adding systems that could identify when children are playing between those hours, Microsoft decided to change its South Korean policy instead of allowing only those aged 19 and over to sign up for an Xbox Live account.
The Minecraft website has been updated to include this disclaimer: “For players in South Korea, you must be 19 years of age or older to purchase and play the Java version of Minecraft.”
Of course, the move has not gone well. The Korea Herald reports that 15,000 Koreans have signed a petition calling for the law to be scrapped.
However, it does not seem to be all doom and gloom. Microsoft is looking at a solution. In a statement to gamesindustry.biz, a spokesman for Microsoft said: “We are continuing the global migration of Mojang accounts to Microsoft accounts for Minecraft: Java Edition including for our players in South Korea.
“We are working on a long-term solution for existing and new players under the age of 19 in South Korea and will have more to share about this later in the year.”