Korean Regulation Hinders Smartphone Game Development

July 12, 2010 -

When many gamers think of the South Korean gaming scene, the first images that jump to mind are of highly competitive real-time strategy games like Starcraft, or action-oriented MMORPGs like Aion or Lineage II. 

But most gamers probably don't think of South Korea as a home for mobile games, and according to a recent Korea Times report, there is a reason. South Korean law requires that all game content be approved by a board of censors before going out to the consumer marketplace. While that may work for full-release PC and console games, it is something of an outdated concept in the mobile arena, where the cycle of game development is often measured in a matter of weeks or months, rather than years. 

Because of the restrictions, Apple's App Store and Google's Android Marketplace simply don't let Korean subscribers access the games category on their respective stores, forcing developers to categorize their apps as "entertainment" rather than games, in order to be visible. But developers point out that the law isn't effective anyway, because users simply can set up foreign accounts or access cloud-based digital distribution platforms to get around the filters.

A new proposed law would restrict the government's ability to censor content and require certain "quality" games to be approved immediately, however due to turf wars between various branches of the South Korean government, the legislation has been stalled. Much of the debate between the two governing bodies, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, has centered over provisions of the legislation meant to prevent compulsive gaming by introducing time limitations on play, and in-game penalties for players exceeding the limits.  Because of the conflict between the two departments, the proposed legislation is not expected to be addressed until the end of the year at the earliest.


Dan Rosenthal is lawyer and analyst for the video games industry


Comments

Re: Korean Regulation Hinders Smartphone Game Development

Brazil has the same stupid law (we also don't have mobile stores or even PSN and XBOX Live here... I found out when I made a iPhone game and I could not buy my own game...)

 

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E. Zachary KnightGot that same recommendation on Twitter. So I guess that is a good sign.09/15/2014 - 8:39pm
prh99Portlandia, though I don't watch a lot of sitcoms. Heard it was good though.09/15/2014 - 8:02pm
E. Zachary KnightSitcom recommendations for someone who like Parks and Rec but hates The Office: Go.09/15/2014 - 6:08pm
NeenekoEven if they do change their policy, they can only do it moving forward and I could see the mod/pack community simply branching.09/15/2014 - 12:50pm
Michael ChandraAs for take the money and run, the guy must have a networth of 8~9 digits already.09/15/2014 - 10:33am
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Matthew Wilsonthey wont do that, the backlash would be too big.09/15/2014 - 10:25am
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InfophileWhat a world we live in: Becoming a billionaire was the easy way out for Notch.09/15/2014 - 9:42am
james_fudgelots of hate for Notch here. I don't get it. Sorry he made a game everyone loved. What a monster he is!09/15/2014 - 9:37am
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SleakerI can understand Notch's statements he made to Kotaku about growing bigger than he intended, and getting hate for EULA changes he didn't enact.09/15/2014 - 9:32am
MaskedPixelantehttp://pastebin.com/n1qTeikM Notch's statement about the MS acquisition. He wanted out for a long time and this was the easiest way.09/15/2014 - 9:08am
ConsterEh, I can't blame him.09/15/2014 - 9:01am
 

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