What you need to know
- Minecraft is the most popular game in the world, and caters to a wide variety of gamers across all ages and groups.
- In South Korea, however, Minecraft has suddenly become an adult-only to many users, thanks to a long-standing local law and Microsoft Account migration.
- Microsoft's Xbox Live accounts have restricted online play to adults 19 and older since the controversial "Cinderella law" was passed.
- Now, the migration from Mojang Accounts to Microsoft Accounts is preventing many children from accessing their favorite game.
Minecraft is one of the most popular games in the world by a wide margin, and is played by hundreds of millions of people every month. In South Korea, Minecraft continues to be a beloved game by plenty of people, but things are getting a little difficult for South Korean children that want to play Minecraft. Microsoft is moving forward with their plan to migrate all Mojang Accounts to Microsoft Accounts, so that all Minecraft versions, even the older Minecraft: Java Edition, are powered by one account.
In 2011, South Korea passed the "Cinderella law," a still-controversial regulation that restricts online gaming for children 16 and younger from midnight to 6 a.m. This combination of required screenings led Microsoft to require all Xbox Live users in South Korea to be 19 and older, rather than setting up dedicated servers for the region. Since the law passed, children in South Korea have continued to play one of the best PC games for kids by using Minecraft: Java Edition and a Mojang Account.
Now children are unable to access even that last bastion of child-friendly gaming, as the migration to Microsoft Accounts has come into effect in South Korea.
The "Cinderella law" in South Korea is quite controversial, especially as studies have shown negligible improvements to how much sleep children are getting per night (the original focus of the law). Still, the law remains, and playing some of the best kids games has become near-impossible thanks to the combination between this law and Microsoft's decision to restrict Xbox Live access. For now, South Korea is the only place where Minecraft is practically labeled as an adult game.
While the law does make things difficult for gaming companies that wish to bring their online games to South Korean children, especially with the added costs of likely needing dedicated servers for the region, this still brings Microsoft's lackluster attempts at localization into light. Xbox users everywhere have banded together to request better localization, an area where Microsoft has historically struggled to deliver. Hopefully, this will be one instance where Microsoft will shirk expectations.
A Microsoft representative told GamesIndustry.biz, "We are proceeding with the global migration of Mojang accounts to Microsoft accounts for Minecraft: Java Edition including for our players in South Korea. We're working on a longer term solution for existing and new players under the age of 19 in South Korea and will have more to share on this later this year."
A gaming masterpiece
Available everywhere you play.
Minecraft is an inarguable and complete success. It has sold copies in the hundreds of millions, has a huge following of dedicated players, and lets you unlock your every creative desire. It's also available on every platform imaginable, including Xbox, Windows 10, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS. Play with anyone and play anywhere.
Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer primarily focused on covering the latest news, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life, and have been with Windows Central and its sister sites since 2019. While originally brought on to write about all things Minecraft, Zachary has since expanded to write about practically everything that Windows Central covers. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.
This is a tough one.
I'm not sure about Xbox (my kids play Minecraft on Xbox, but they do use Xbox Live accounts), but can't you play Minecraft without an Xbox Live account on PC (the only place Java edition worked)? You just can't play online with remote friends. Granted, maybe that's a huge part of the appeal, but I think that Korean kids can still play Minecraft on their local PC's and can even still play with family members via the free LAN-co-op mode. To be fair, I'm not certain I'm right here, so if someone knows for sure, please confirm or correct me.
Ownership of Minecraft: Java Edition is connected to your Mojang Account, which is being migrated to Microsoft Accounts.
Does that mean that everyone who plays is using a Mojang account, even if they're playing offline?
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