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 While that may work for full-release PC and console games, it is something of an outdated concept in the mobile arena, where the cycle of game development is often measured in a matter of weeks or months, rather than years.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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Andrew EisenFalcon SNUB!!!08/27/2014 - 11:28am
E. Zachary KnightAh. Didn't realize Captain Falcon was from F-Zero. Perhaps they didn't want too much SSB cross over characters.08/27/2014 - 10:30am
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E. Zachary KnightDoes F-Zero really have a character that is recognizable that could be used? I would think the cars and tracks would be more recognizable.08/27/2014 - 8:55am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/08/27/rockstar-lohans-gta-5-lawsuit-just-jonas-ing-for-publicity/ Rockstar releases the biggest "no duh" statement in the universe.08/27/2014 - 8:07am
MaskedPixelanteI'm just saying, they're giving us an F-Zero kart and an F-Zero track, but their crossover representative is Link?08/27/2014 - 8:00am
ZenMasked, not really sure what your are talking about lol. They will be giving a total of 6 characters, 8 vehicles, and 16 tracks...plus the Yoshi and Shy Guy sets if you get both packs. Not bad for about the price of a single CoD map pack lol.08/27/2014 - 7:02am
MaskedPixelanteSee the flaw here. Blue Falcon car, F-Zero themed track, and Link as a playable character.08/27/2014 - 6:46am
IanCNext Level Games would like to say hi.08/27/2014 - 6:32am
Uncharted NEShttp://kotaku.com/zelda-f-zero-coming-to-mario-kart-8-162715073008/26/2014 - 11:17pm
Uncharted NESAlso $8 for each or $12 for both.08/26/2014 - 11:16pm
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Uncharted NESI miss Nintendo-Capcom Zelda games. ALTTP on the GBA was my first real time really playing through that game. And you know what, it was fun. :P08/26/2014 - 5:42pm
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