Thai gamers trash talk proposed ban on long, violent streams

Photo: Raelilblack / Twitch
Photo: Raelilblack / Twitch

Gamers are opening fire on rumors that a ban on streaming violent games and long sessions is in the works. 

Industry players large and small condemned such a move after the founder of esports team Made in Thailand (MiTH) said he had met with senior officials about the law in a Tuesday Twitch stream.  Chanignun Thipairote, aka P’Van FPS Thailand, said the law would ban gamers from streaming over two hours a day, prohibit violent content and require tournaments to get official permission.

“[It’s] going to be doomsday for gamers,” he said.

According to Chanignun, a final decision on the proposal will be made July 13. He did not respond to messages seeking comment Friday, and calls to the Digital Society and Economy Ministry went unanswered.

While the details remain hazy, it was enough to provoke dismay among gamers and and send #EsportsTH into trending territory.

Sakolkorn “Ton” Sakavee, former CEO of online gaming juggernaut Garena Thailand, questioned yesterday if it was even possible to do and why they would seek to hurt people’s livelihoods.

“Can they do that? It’s a foreign platform,” he wrote online. “But if it can happen, how about the lives of people who take care of their families and themselves by entertaining viewers through game streaming? … Many people I know live off this and love their career.” 

Santi Lolthong, the president of ESports Thailand Association, said yesterday that there shouldn’t be any legal limits on any kind of games while acknowledging that streams of six or eight hours aren’t healthy.

He added that they’ve been trying for years to find a solution with the National Health Commission Office.

“Health problems should be confronted proactively, not by bans,” he said.

Last year, 27.8 million people, or 41% of the population played some kind of game, according to AIS E-sports, and the industry is worth about THB23 billion (US$740 million).

While online gaming is a national obsession, persistent attitudes hold it up as a social ill and sign of delinquency. Censors over the years have banned a number of games and internet cafes are subject to cyclical crackdowns.

Still, signs of change came two years ago when esports were recognized by the Sports and Tourism Ministry, and Thailand fielded a national team to compete at the Asian Games’ first-ever gaming event.

Veteran gaming YouTuber Eak Heart Rocker – his real name is unknown – tweeted Wednesday that limiting streams to two hours would spell their end.

“Some games have 30 rounds of competitions a month,so how can we play game two hours a day?” he wrote. “Don’t worry about our health, we sleep 10 hours a day.”

9 ปี แล้วสินะ วงการ Streamer บ้านเรา ตั้งแต่ยัง Live stream แบบภาพ SD กล้องแบบ SD live อยู่บน platform own3d.tv …

Posted by Sakolkorn Sakavee on Thursday, July 2, 2020

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