Google chose to shut down game service in Korea

As I said in my earlier post, it is Google’s turn to answer to the request of Korean government to follow the Korean game rating system.

Yes, Google answered. They chose to close games category in their Android Market in Korea. It is the same as Apple closed games category in Korean Appstore.

Google replied to Korean Games Rating Board (GRB) last Friday that they have no choice but to close down game category in Android Market in Korea. “While we want to obey the local law as much as possible, it is impossible to run Android Market in different ways only in a country because Google operates the Android Market in the same way all over the world,” the official letter from Google read. Google requested a month grace before it shut down the market for some technical reasons.

Korean consumers lost another market place and/or playground where they can play.

As the news that Korean Ministry of Culture would ease the rating system for games in mobile open market leaked, the anticipation that Google and Korean government might find a way to keep up game category in Android Market in Korea got higher. Yes, but that’s the way it is. The market will be closed.

Ministry of Culture was little bit embarrassed by Google’s move, because it is working on to revise the law to ease the regulations for games in mobile open market partly in response to the changes due to global smartphone players.

But, it is no wonder that Google did not wait the Korean government’s new plan. Not fixed yet,  new rating system will require the operators of mobile open market to self-regulate the games registered on their market.  The point is that the operator filters the games on behalf of the GRB and there might be a guideline from GRB, though there will be much more room for operators to move.

Unlike Apple’s Appstore, Google does not filter any of applications developers register in the market. It’s their policy. So, even the eased rating system does not mean anything to Google.

For now, it seems that Korean game regulations proved itself one more time that it is not  a fitted ware for today’s Korean digital consumers. But I still wonder how far Google can push its ‘do-not-touch policy’, given the concerns over children’s exposure to inappropriate contents. Maybe Google simply wants as many as apps in their market to catch up the Apple Appstore.

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