The Ho Chi Minh City department of Information and Communications has asked its controlling structure, the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communications, to examine eight online games which have been generating massive interest in Internet cafes and other outlets among students and citizens alike.
The games in question have raised concerns about offerings that provide gambling or violence and overly consume the time and interest of the young.
The department asked the Ministry to review the contents of five online card playing games, namely Baccarat, Blackjack, Badugi, Seven Poker and Gostop, which are distributed by the Pacific Company, and three games which have violent elements: Sudden Attack distributed by Vinagame, Special Force by FPT Online, and Cross Fire by VTC Intercom, according to Vietnamnet Bridge.
Of the above games, Sudden Attack, Special Force, and Cross Fire have especially lured many young people to game shops and Internet cafes, with often tens of thousands of people playing Sudden Attack around the city and around 10 000 playing Special Force.
The Ministry of Information and Communications now controls all online gaming accounts in Vietnam and only permits users to play on an account for five hour periods each day, after which user accounts are automatically logged off. In addition, users only get the full value of any bonus points if they play for three hours or less – between 3-5 hours of play, only 50 percent of available bonus points are given.
However, most game players have figured out surprisingly simple ways to circumvent the system, the easiest being for operators to reset the playing hours, so that after the player completes the allowed 5 hours he or she can exit and then log in again.