Having already taken steps to eradicate League of Legends hacking and in-game modifications, the South Korean government are now proposing a law that will ban account boosting, making the practice punishable by up to two years in jail and an $18,000 fine.
The story, initially reported by Korean news outlet Inven, outlines proposed amendments to the Game Industry Promotion Act, granting authorities the power to actively punish account boosters, natively referred to as ‘professional surrogate players’.
The law does not appear to qualify whether those paying for an account boosting service would also be punished.
“Illegal hacks, illegal private servers, and professional boosters are the three main factors that plague games and eSports.
“We will now protect the game industry and the eSports system through an amendment of game law.
“To give an example on why Boosting is so bad, it’s like taking a test but instead of you answering the questions, you pay someone else to take the test for you”
Lee Dong-Sub, South Korean National Assembly Representative
“Account boosting” is a common practice in both the eastern and western regions of competitive League of Legends, broadly referring to a 3rd person/party who takes control of an individual’s account, raising the player’s division tier in exchange for financial reward.
Riot Games and the Korea e-Sports Association continue to fight the practice on every possible front, though admittedly neither can do much more than file lawsuits against companies found to be providing and selling boosts and banning involved individuals in-game.
Riot has previously sued both boosting and script-providing companies, resulting in the demise of a number of sordid online companies. Aided by the weight of legislation however, boosting will now be considered an illegal act by the South Korean government.
Riot will hope that this act dissuades both providers and potential customers from pursuing the forbidden service.
Boosting, by nature, undermines the competitive integrity of League of Legends. Considering the value of eSports within South Korean culture, the proposed bill understandably outlines the potential for severe penalties.
South Korea continues to lead the way in combating eSports’ own black market, yet whether two years of jail time and considerable fines are an effective – or even an appropriate – deterrent, will become clear if the proposals are put into action.