February 25th, 2006

Japanese Officials Regulate Used Console System Sales

Pssst.... Buddy. Over here. Wanna buy a used PS2?

GamePolitics recently reported that U.S. video game publishers are not too thrilled about sales of used games.

Now from Japan comes word that government officials have targeted used video game consoles as well as other electronic devices. The Asahi Shimbun reports that any electronic device manufactured before April 2002 will have to be inspected & certified before it can be re-sold in Japan.

So-called "PSE stickers," indicating certification of "product safety of electrical appliance and materials," have been mandatopry for all electronic devices distributed in Japan since 2002. Until now, the requirement has only been applied to manufacturers. In April, the law will be amended to include retailers.

Interestingly, it doesn't take much effort for retailers to acquire the ability to apply "certification" stickers to most appliances. Would-be re-sellers simply need to register with the government and accept responsibility for any liabilities that may arise from items sold. Nor are the government's minimum test requirements a barrier to entry: "the product looks fine, works properly when turned on, and does not leak electricity at 1,000 volts."
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Bush Administration Unconcerned Over Korean-Chinese Skirmish

A famous line uttered by the evil Vizzini in The Princess Bride holds that one should "Never get involved in a land war in Asia..." But what if said Asian land war is taking place online?

Joystiq reports that a border war of sorts has broken out between Chinese and South Korean players in the massively multiplayer online game Lineage. Actually, massacre might be the better word. Tired of apparent identity theft and ninja looting perpetrated by suspected Chinese "sweatshop" gaming companies, Korean Lineage devotees have been hunting down and killing Chinese players who show up on Korean servers.

It's no small problem. More than 220,000 South Koreans have reported to police that their identities have been stolen. A fair number of these are apparently being used by Chinese gold farming companies to create Lineage accounts. Sweatshop workers then play the fraudulent accounts incessantly, selling items they acquire for real-world cash through websites. The sweatshop workers' tireless quest for marketable items includes breaking the unwritten MMO rule of not looting another player's kill. Thus, frustrated Korean Lineage fans find the loot from monsters they worked so hard to take down scavenged by other players.
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