Computer games may be rated
The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will ask the Culture Ministry to form a panel to rate computer games, following the Aug 8 murder of a taxi driver by a teenage schoolboy addicted to the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) game. Yannapol Youngyuen, head of the DSI's bureau of technology and cyber crime, yesterday suggested distributors of computer games be asked to help screen game content, saying the planned rating panel would find it very hard to keep pace with new computer games.
''Rating by the ministry has proceeded at a very slow pace. The ministry should study overseas ratings as a guideline and adjust them to suit Thai culture and values,'' he said.
Pol Col Yannapol also said there are many computer games which are more violent than GTA, such as those which focus on cop killing or rape.
He maintained, however, that on-line games are not the major cause of teen problems.
Justice Minister Sompong Amornwiwat on Thursday asked agencies concerned to study whether on-line games were contributing to the increasingly violent behaviour of youngsters.
He called on operators of internet cafes to help monitor the behaviour of young on-line game players, and relevant authorities to crack down on pirated game software.
Pol Col Yannapol yesterday pledged to make a serious effort to suppress illegal on-line games.
Previously, the DSI had not confiscated pirated game software because CD piracy was not considered a special case to be tackled by the department, given its relatively low value.
Software distributors' representative Pongsuk Hiranpreuck, of Game No Limit company, said the computer game industry is a top income earner worldwide. The on-line game industry in Thailand is worth about 1.5 billion baht this year, up from 1.3 billion baht last year.
Lertchai Kanpai, managing director of Asiasoft, said currently there are 57 games active in the Thai cyberspace. Though all of them passed Microsoft's screening, some are quite violent.
''A bigger threat, however, is illegal game software which bypasses the violence rating.
''Software with copyrights are screened and rated before their distribution in Thailand,'' he said.