The South Korean government looks set to block play-to-earn mobile games as it has requested Apple and Google take down P2E games from their respective mobile app stores, and is blocking the release of new P2E games.
Play-to-earn gaming is becoming more common, since it is connected with the cryptocurrency industry. Those playing these types of games typically have to buy NFTs in order to progress or play the game or receive in-game items. But in South Korea game prizes that are worth more than a few dollars are banned.
South Korea's Game Management Committee (GMC), in its Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, said earlier this week that it will block the launch of new P2E games and request existing ones be removed from Google Play and Apple's App Store (per Coin Telegraph).
Major mobile app stores operating in South Korea will now have to block any games that require in-app purchases before allowing people to play. South Korea has strong regulations concerning gambling, gaming, and age ratings, and the GMC is moving to clamp down on what it views as speculative money-making schemes, while technically it is also following its age guidelines.
In a statement, a government official said: "It is reasonable to keep P2E games from getting age ratings under the current law because cash rewards in games can be considered prizes" – as reported by Coin Telegraph.
P2E game developers in South Korea have struggled to obtain age ratings for their apps, while prizes earned from games in the country must not exceed 10,000 Korean won (around $8.40) each time. While this move is not an outright ban, these new regulations and the prevailing mood suggests that play-to-earn games will have difficulty in finding audiences since existing P2E games will be removed from the two most ubiquitous mobile app stores, while new ones won't be listed either.
South Korea's stance has negative consequences for all P2E apps, such as the two most popular ones Axie Infinity and Splinterlands, who will miss out on a population that has some of the highest smartphone and mobile games penetrations in the world.
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