South Korean Overwatch hacker sentenced to a year in prison

When a video game gets too real.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou

The hacks used in games like Overwatch can range from scripts that enable perfect aim, match-fixing, to boosting a player's ranking.

Remember the cheat codes you shared among your friends to restore your avatar's health in a video game? Yeah, they can get you in serious trouble in South Korea.

A 28-year-old South Korean now faces a year in prison and two years of probation for hacking Overwatch , reported TechCrunch. The convicted gamer reportedly generated 200 million Korean won (nearly US $180,000) from Overwatch-related hacks.

A new South Korean law that criminalizes the activity of creating and distributing video game hacks went into effect last year, video game publication Kotaku reported. Convicted hackers reportedly face up to five years in jail and the equivalent of $50,000 in fines.

Gaming competitors can bring in serious cash. Starting this year, players in the esports Overwatch League will earn at least $50,000 a year and be guaranteed year-long contracts, reported Engadget. Champions will reportedly take home at least $1 million. Lower tier competitors can make money from gaming, too. Players with a following on streaming sites like Twitch have been known to make $3,000 to $10,000 a month.

The hacks used in games like Overwatch can range from scripts that enable perfect aim to match-fixing to boosting a player's competitive ranking, according to TechCrunch.