You may purchase games from mobile open market in Korea soon (maybe)

Korean government opened a way for games distributed in global mobile open market (such as Apple Appstore or Google Android Market) in Korea.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Toursism  (MCST) is working on to revise the game-related law so that games for mobile open markets are exempted from being rated by Game Rating Board (GRB) for distribution in Korea, according to a report.

This unexpected game/mobile industry-friendly move just came out when the concerns over conflict between Korean game rating regulations and Google’s global business practice are growing. As I posted, GRB recently recommended Google to let all the games in their Android Market to be rated according to Korean law and referred possibility of blocking access to Android Market from Korea. Google Korea did not want to follow the regulations because they did not want to run Android Market in the exceptional way only in Korea. They requested about 2 weeks to discuss this issue with headquarter in Mountain View, California.

Korean government eased the regulations for mobile open market

Those  games exempted from GRB ratings may include a) games for mobile open market b) games for youth c) games produced by an individuals or small companies  d) games whose volume is under 300MB. They will be filtered by the appstore operators before launch and GRB will engage only for when games are reported as being violent, obscenity or simulated gambling.

Though the games for open market will be exempted from rating by GRB, it does not mean that those games are completely free from rating. The responsiblity of filtering games is moving from GRB to each appstore operators, an official of GRB said.

The Korean government did not change whole game regulation frame that requires every game for service in Korea should be rated by GRB, but rather found a compromise in the frame of the Law On Promotion of Game Industry. The revision of this law, now pending in the Assembly, includes the clause that defines a few cases that ratings from GRB are exempted by the decision of Minister of Culture. MCST will let the minister of culture determine the exact cases that ratings by GRB are exempted on the basis of the revision of the Law On Promotion of Game Industry.

It means that games cannot be distributed in the mobile open market in Korea for a while if the law is not passed in the assembly. Ministry of Culture and GRB expect that the law will be passed in April. Hopely. But the game law is not on the top of priority list for congressmen. Opposing party wants to fight against so-called ‘Broadcast Controlling’ of President Lee’s government.

Moreover, the attacks against games are getting fierce as the horrible accidents related with online game recently shocked the public. Some congressmen already prepare the law to prevent the game addiction. Those issues may hold back the legislation of revised game law.

What if Google still refuse to follow…

One more ting. Even if the law will be implemented, it’s not clear whether Google followed the Korean game policy. Apple will have no problem in opening the games category in Korean Appstore, because the new regulation is exactly the same as they do now for game developers.

But Google may refuse to the law if they still decide to consider the eased regulation as the infringement of the freedom of speech.  Though the Ministry of Culture did not fix how it operates its open market policies, chances are government may impose some sort of responsiblity to filter the games before launching on open market. That’s not what Google is not doing for their Android Market. Google does not monitor what games are launched on their market, but only handle those games that are reported as having problems by the users.

Now, it’s turn that Google reply.


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