This week, Blizzard is enforcing new restrictions on Korean PC bangs (gaming cafes) to prevent the bane of rampant cheating in Overwatch.
Beginning February 17, a Korean Battle.net account will be required by every player in order to log into Overwatch from any local cafe. While creating a Battle.net account is free, the requirement of a Korean social security number makes each account unique for the region. In addition to several other personal aspects linked with each account, Blizzard will have more power to isolate cheaters and ban them permanently from the game.
Last month, Blizzard banned over 22,000 Overwatch accounts from South Korea. However, the move carries little significance because of the anonymity offered by public gaming cafes in the country. Once an account is banned, the cafe simply creates another one in its place to have players resume playing and cheating.
Having your social security number tied with Battle.net means that once banned, you have no other choice but to access the game from another’s account. However, the threat of being banned will ultimately force majority of players to stop sharing their accounts with everyone. The simplicity of creating a brand new account just went out of the window.
The developer also announced that players using foreign Battle.net accounts will be required to have a purchased license for Overwatch. Apparently, several cheating players from South Korea were logging into Overwatch through North American or European accounts to dodge the requirement of entering a Korean social security number.
Combined, the new move from Blizzard should significantly curb the problem of cheating in the game. Presently, the restrictions on Korean PC bangs affect only Overwatch and not other games from Blizzard such as StarCraft II and Diablo III. That being said, it should not be surprising to see the developer make adjustments in the near future.