South Korea Asks Apple and Google to Ban play-to-earn Games

The South Korean government has ordered Apple and Google to remove any “money-making” play-to-earn (P2E) games from their respective Korean app stores. In addition, no new P2E games will be allowed to be released in the country. The Game Management Committee (GMC) of South Korea ruled earlier this week to effectively ban any games that require an in-app purchase to play. South Korea has been combating P2E gaming since April 2021.

The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism’s Game Management Committee (GMC) has requested major mobile app stores to restrict any games that need in-app purchases before playing. The GMC has made it nearly hard for P2E game creators to advertise their work on the most popular mobile app stores to fight the proliferation of what it perceives as speculative money-making techniques.

“It is reasonable to restrict P2E games from having age ratings under the current law since financial incentives in games might be regarded prizes,” a South Korean official stated, adding that “cash rewards in games can be considered prizes.”

South Korea has previously been chastised for censoring the gaming industry. All games must be graded by the Game Rating and Administration Committee (GRAC) or the Game Content Rating Board (GCRB) before they may be marketed in Korea, according to national legislation. As a result of the inability to rate P2E games, they are no longer available for purchase.

No governments in the West have yet taken a stand. However, some organisations have issued statements, such as the Steam Store in the United States, which prohibited all blockchain-based games in October 2021.

It’s unclear how other national governments will regulate the booming P2E gaming business, as gacha games, P2E games, and games with lootbox-based monetization methods blur the boundary between gaming and gambling.

While enthusiastic crypto supporters may see greater regulation as a huge negative impact, experts say that it is an essential ingredient for widespread crypto acceptance.


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