HCMC targets Crossfire in online games crackdown

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Ho Chi Minh City's authorities on Tuesday ordered the closure of a role-playing game released by a company under the Ministry of Information and Communication.


The move is part of the city's crackdown on online games.


At a meeting with Internet service providers, the City's Department of Information and Communications asked them to stop customers from signing on to the Dot kich (Crossfire) game developed by VTC Intercom and to get rid of digital content that contain illicit images from the game.


The providers, including FPT and SCTV, were required to act right away and report to the department by September 1. If they fail to do so, they will be punished, the department said.  


Released in 2008 by VTC Intercom, which is under the Ministry of Information and Communication, Crossfire has a lot of violent content with characters killing others with knives, guns and grenades, it said.  


The department has sent all violent images taken from Crossfire to authorities in 24 districts, requesting them to ask local Internet shops to stop providing the game's content with such images.


A ten-day investigation into the conduct of VTC's branch in HCMC over a year starting August 20, 2009 was also launched Monday.


Asked why the department had targeted Crossfire first, Le Manh Ha, director of the department, said previously they had met with three companies that had released games with a lot of shooting, of which VTC's was the most violent.


The company's representatives have also come to the meeting with no goodwill and intention of cooperating with the department, the director said.


Last week the department had proposed to the Ministry of Information and Communications that the provision of online games be cut from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. instead of instituting online curfews at Internet cafes.


The response came after the ministry ordered the suspension of internet service to all internet cafes nationwide from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. from this September 1.


The department argued that there was no legal basis for a government body to order the suspension of internet service to internet shops after their official business hours, as not all Internet shops have broken the law.


In the meantime, FPT Online subsidiary of the leading information technology firm FPT, on Monday committed it will not import and release games involving shooting with guns if governmental agencies asked them to do so.


FPT Online will also close the Dac Nhiem Anh Hung (Special Force) game from next April onwards, it said.

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