Thursday, March 09, 2017

China Backlash Against South Korea Targets Video Games

China is once again cracking down on video games, this time specifically aiming at titles from South Korea. The game market has exploded in China. Though it's had a tumultuous start with the stressful regulations, some of those rules have relaxed and have allowed international developers to jump in. If the ticket sales for the 'Warcraft' movie are any indication, China loves video games. But recent political tensions are resulting in a roll-back of old policies that could limit new games being introduced into the country.

Beijing has introduced a new policy that will stop allowing games from South Korea from receiving approval in the country. This is in response to the THAAD missile defense system, which should be live in South Korea by April. Nexon, a Seoul-based developer, confirmed the new rule from an e-mail statement. A number of South Korean developers work with publishers in China to help release their games. And one large gaming group in China has mentioned that they received an internal e-mail over a week ago about new policies that limit discussion on China-South Korean relations, and to reduce business ties.

THAAD is a long-range defense system. Both South Korea and the U.S., which has been helping with the set-up, state that the defenses are to protect South Korea from North Korea (whom have also been testing new missiles as of late). But China claims this isn't the case, and are concerned that the missiles will be turned on them. In response to this, they are disrupting businesses in hopes it'll convince South Korea to dismantle THAAD. This isn't just video games. China is also closing down Korean-based super markets, refusing entry to Korean musicians, and not allowing airlines to travel to new routes throughout the country.

Since the announcement, Nexon and Joymax, one of the two more well-known South Korean companies with games in China, have seen their stocks tumble dramatically. South Korea plans to issue a formal complaint with the World Trade Organization.

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