Another large ban wave has hit the Overwatch scene in South Korea.
Blizzard has banned 1,487 Overwatch accounts in South Korea since the start of season 11 on June 30. All accounts suspended are listed on the Overwatch forum, and were reportedly banned for “account sharing” or boosting. “Blizzard Entertainment is committed to creating a fair and positive game environment for our players,” an Overwatch spokesperson said in a statement on the forum. “Below is the list of accounts that have been deliberately manipulated for Overwatch’s 11th season.” The spokesperson goes on to say that the accounts have interfered with normal game operations.
It’s unclear from the statement posted by Blizzard South Korea what kind of suspension these players face. Wording on the Overwatch forum suggests the suspension could be temporary, according to a translation from Twitter user gatamchun. Dot Esports has reached out to Blizzard’s South Korean office for clarification.
The South Korean Overwatch community is no stranger to these sorts of public mass bans. In January 2017, Blizzard announced that more than 22,000 Overwatch accounts in South Korea had been banned for cheating.
Many of those accounts, however, were reportedly free ones linked to Korean PC bangs. Customers previously were able to play Overwatch at the gaming cafes semi-anonymously. Blizzard implemented a rule in February 2017 that curbed cheating at PC bangs, requiring South Korean players to plug in their Korean social security number to create an account if they haven’t purchased a license.
But the boosting and cheating business in Korea remains a problem. (As pointed out by gatamchun, the list of banned accounts includes known South Korean boosting companies.) In June, an Overwatch hack creator was sentenced to a suspended prison sentence for violating the Game Industry Promotion Law and Information and Communication Technology Protection Law. Beyond just ruining the game for thousands of Overwatch players, there’s a lot of money to be made—and both Blizzard and the South Korean government are cracking down.
The prevalence of boosting in South Korea has leaked over into the Overwatch League. Two players, Dallas Fuel’s Son “OGE” Min-seok and Philadelphia Fusion’s Kim “Sado” Su-min, were suspended for boosting. OGE got a four game suspension, while Sado was ineligible to play in the Overwatch League for 30 games—more than half the season.