The sale of virtual items has been made illegal in South Korea.

The Korea Times reports that the decision was made by the government as an effort to help keep students from wasting their time.

The new law will be announced in July, banning sales of all virtual items. "The main purpose of the games is for entertainment and should be used for academic and other good purposes," explained Kim Kap-soo, head of The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's content policy division.

Kap-soo stated that collecting virtual items is “serious hindrance” when attempting to maintain “a healthy game culture”.

Blizzard is likely to be pretty unhappy about the issue seems as the Diablo 3 Real Money Auction House will be made illegal by the passing of this law. Blizzard is already facing tough times in South Korea, with a games café recently looking to sue them on a matter relating to both Diablo 3’s always-online requirement and server problems.

The new law also takes gold farming bots into consideration, making it illegal to use any program that will "allow in-game characters to hunt and collect items without the need of a player controlling them".

The Korean government has reckon that more than 60 per cent of items exchanged on the digital market have been gained using bots, bring a “negative reputation” to the world of online gaming, which is something that many in the country take very seriously.

If anyone is caught breaking this law then they’ll receive a 50 million won, that’s just under $43,000 USD, along with up to five years in prison.

The ministry’s opinion is that these kinds of trades "contribute to many problems in society, including teenage crime", and reckoned something needed to be done.