In Thailand, young people's obsession with online gaming may help to nurture a generation of computer-literate children, reports BBC ClickOnline's Spencer Kelly from Bangkok. Ministers say the number of nocturnal gamers has dropped Thailand's capital is one of those places that never seems to sleep. But while the tourists enjoy the night markets and the bars of Bangkok, the computer savvy locals are flocking to internet cafes to take part in an Asian online phenomenon.
More than 700,000 young Thais are now playing Ragnarok Online, a massive multiplayer online role-playing game, which has taken Asia by storm. Once registered, players can roam vast digital landscapes, collecting items and interacting with other players wherever they are in the real world.
The game has proved so popular that many fans have been playing long into the night. This raised concerns that Thai children were missing out on other important activities like study and sleep.
The problem became so great that the Thai government imposed a curfew almost six months ago.
Over-18s can still play on into the small hours. After registering at a post office, they are given an adult user ID that will work day or night. For younger players without the special logon, the game simply stops working at 10pm.
Ragnarok's creators, AsiaSoft, say they understand the Thai authorities' concerns. But they also think that computer games can help introduce technology to the developing world.
"We feel that to improve information technology literacy you need to have some kind of interest to attract people to have their hands on a computer," said Sherman Tan, AsiaSoft President.
"Most people usually have computers for the interests of entertainment, games and at a later stage they will look into other content."
But is it really the government's job to decide what's best for the nation's youth after dark?
News source: BBC
View: Ragnarok Online