Diablo 3 drops real-money auction house in South Korea to secure official classification
Diablo 3 has been causing controversy with South Korea's ratings board for ages. Diablo 3's real money auction house has been the main source of the problem. The idea of playing for financial gain conflicted with South Korea's stern anti-gambling ethos, but the problem has now been resolved. Dualshockers noticed the appearance of an official 18 rating for Diablo 3 on the South Korean game rating board site. Blizzard have had to make concessions to guarantee the rating, however.
It looks as though the cash auction house has been removed entirely from the South Korean build of Diablo 3. The Korea Times carry a quote from the South Korean Games Rating Board stating that "the feature involving for-cash trades between users was not included in the presentation to the rating committee, and therefore it was not subjected to any scrutiny." The GRB spokesperson also warned that they would "open up re-rating examinations" if Blizzard introduce the cash auction house in a post-launch patch.
The success of StarCraft 2 in South Korea makes it a hugely important territory for Blizzard, and while it's unlikely that the long-running battle with South Korea's ratings board has delayed Diablo 3's worldwide release, it's a significant spat caused by Diablo 3's most intriguing and controversial feature. There's still no release date for Diablo 3, but we've played a lot of the beta, and it's looking very, very polished. Read all about it in our latest Diablo 3 preview.