Sundance Documentary on Video Game Addiction in South Korea to Debut on HBO

"Love Child" documents a South Korean couple who accidentally starved their baby to death while playing an online fantasy game that involved nurturing a virtual baby.

A documentary on the deadly effects of online game addiction in South Korea will make its national television debut on HBO on July 28.

A Korea-U.S. co-production directed by Valerie Veatch and executive produced by T-Mobile CEO John Legere, Love Child created buzz when it premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

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It documents a Korean couple who were arrested for neglecting and ultimately starving their three-month-old to death in 2010. The two had spent more than six hours a day playing an online fantasy game, and the incident provoked nationwide outrage in Korea, especially when it became known that the couple was preoccupied with nurturing a virtual child.

More than two million people -- roughly 4.4 percent of the population -- are reported to suffer from gaming addiction in South Korea, where the Internet economy comprises about 7 percent of GDP ($7.9 billion). The local government has heavily invested in a broadband Internet infrastructure to turn Seoul into "the digital capital of the world."

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Lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would classify Internet and online gaming addiction as a mitigating factor in criminal prosecutions, alongside addictions to gambling, drugs and alcohol.

Meanwhile, Love Child will be the second project by Veatch to make its broadcast debut on HBO after premiering at Sundance, following ME @ THE ZOO in 2012. The filmmaker has been noted as the first to use the new RGBDToolkit immersive technology to create "computational photography" in her work.

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