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 While that may work for full-release PC and console games, it is something of an outdated concept in the mobile arena, where the cycle of game development is often measured in a matter of weeks or months, rather than years.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 EisenActually, "things I'd like to see become standard in video games" ain't a bad idea for one of my future YouTube videos.07/03/2015 - 1:05am
Andrew EisenYou know what I'd really like to see become standard? The ability to pause cutscenes. Rewind and skip (with "Are you sure?") would be nice too. Oh, and maybe display the duration of the cutscene when it's paused.07/03/2015 - 1:03am
Mattsworknameonly reason to do region locking now is to be dicks your consumer base. Granted, we see that ALOT these days07/03/2015 - 12:48am
MattsworknameI understand the concerns about the region locking thing, I just thing that if you buy a game legitimately, no matter where it's from or what langauge it's in, you should be allowed to play it. the argument about piracy was proven false years ago, the07/03/2015 - 12:47am
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.theverge.com/culture/2015/7/2/8888243/reddit-subreddits-private-after-ama-victoria-taylor-fired bad optics by Reddit.07/03/2015 - 12:33am
Goth_SkunkI'm in full agreement on the subtitles issue. I also believe that every game should come with a single-player component, and be playable without an internet connection. Except MMOs.07/02/2015 - 10:51pm
TechnogeekRegion locking bans seem like something that'll be very difficult to pass into law. I'm fully on board with the subtitle requirement, though.07/02/2015 - 10:00pm
MattsworknameFor example, all games with any for form of spoken dialoge should be i subtitled, and region locking in any form should be illegal07/02/2015 - 9:03pm
MattsworknameDoes anyone feel that there should be a set standard for all games in terms of certain basic features. Ie subtitles, region lock, etc07/02/2015 - 9:01pm
MattsworknameSo, now that the Article stuff is over, I want to bring up another subject07/02/2015 - 9:01pm
PHX Corphttps://trustygem.wordpress.com/2015/07/02/windows-10-insider-preview-phase-3/ My Thoughts on Windows 10 Insider Preview07/02/2015 - 6:17pm
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?t=18&v=CbGmrySQLIg looks like Inafune is giving capcom the middle finger.07/02/2015 - 5:05pm
TechnogeekUnfortunately, the shoutbox moves fast enough that I can't find why I got that impression, so if was indeed erroneous I do apologize.07/02/2015 - 4:34pm
TechnogeekBut yeah, as far as my earlier comment re: you and the article, I did get the impression at some point that you felt there should have been some sort of reprecussions for the article's existence.07/02/2015 - 4:34pm
TechnogeekI got expletive-censored for posting something a few weeks back wherein I expressed my shock that I agreed with you about something, Skunk; so you're not the only one being hit with that stick.07/02/2015 - 4:31pm
Andrew EisenI know you don't. And you haven't recently so all's well.07/02/2015 - 4:25pm
Goth_SkunkI don't think I misrepresented anything.07/02/2015 - 4:24pm
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Goth_SkunkSo I can't say a 4-letter curse word, but Mechacrash is free to call me a moron. Acknowledgment: Mecha was warned about his conduct, but his post was not edited, as mine was.07/02/2015 - 4:20pm
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