The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has announced two new policies aimed at stifling so-called video game addiction among the country's youth. Dubbed the "nighttime shutdown," users ages 19 and under of certain online games will be required to select one of three mandatory six-hour blackout periods set for the middle of the night, during which a user would be barred form online access to the particular game. The blackouts will be instituted for a number of popular online games, such as Maple Story, in the second half of this year.

Additionally, testing of a second, "slowdown" policy has already begun, affecting four popular pastimes, including Dungeon Fighter Online (pictured above). The system is said to "drastically" reduce the internet speed of any underage user logged into a policed game for an unspecified but "lengthy" play session, according to The Korea Herald. Eventually, this dys-functionality will be rolled into 19 RPG titles, representing 79 percent of Korea's online game market. Some affected game companies have questioned why equally popular MMOs, such as Lineage, have not been marked for regulation. (Good question.)

For years, South Korea has identified and sought treatments for "game addiction," which continues to be a major headline generator in the country and abroad. Critics of the new playtime enforcement policies believe that underage players will inevitably find ways to get around the shutdowns and slowdowns, suggesting that even unprecedented government intervention is not a reliable solution. That is, until the government sends its army of guys with bats to your door.

[Via Massively]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.