Some 22,865 Overwatch accounts in South Korea have been permanently banned for “unauthorised use of third-party programs”, Blizzard has announced in a post on the game’s local forum.

“Creating and delivering a pleasant game environment for the majority of good players is of paramount importance to us and we are committed to taking all the steps we can take to create, distribute and use our programs. We are also aware of the fact that our programs are circulated through various communities, and we will prepare countermeasures,” the company explained.

But the situation is more complicated than that, apparently.

The problem is partly due to the widespread use of public gaming cafés – or “PC bangs” – which usually pay a subscription fee to studios instead of purchasing individual game licences. This means that players can cheat, and most other players don’t bother reporting it because it’s going to happen anyway, and besides, players can simply create new accounts to avoid real penalties. Everywhere else in the world, you’d have to buy a new copy of the game if you got busted.

“I believe it is all brought from the competitiveness that Korean culture has in general, especially for younger generations in gaming,” gamer Daniel Na told Kotaku. “Breaking the rules may be considered as fun when you are living in a world where you always have to listen to your parents and live your life in tight studying-schedules since elementary school.”

So I guess 22,865 new accounts are being signed up today.

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