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South Korea Asks Apple, Google App Stores to Block Play-to-Earn Games

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South Korea wants Apple and Google to block the distribution of play-to-earn (P2E) games in the country.

According to a new report from Cointelegraph, South Korea’s government wants Google and Apple to block new and existing play-to-earn (P2E) games, saying such games should not receive an age rating to get listed on their respective app stores.

P2E gaming has skyrocketed in popularity in 2021, and the South Korean government are not fans. P2E games are embedded with decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible token (NFT) elements that allow players to earn cryptocurrencies while playing. However, gaming prizes over a few dollars are banned in South Korea.

Earlier this week, the Game Management Committee (GMC) in the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism requested that major mobile app marketplaces block any games that require in-app purchases to play the game.

An official from the GMC stated the commission was simply following the Supreme Court precedent in blocking P2E games from getting age-rated and registered. “It makes sense to prevent P2E games from being age-rated under current law as cash prizes in-game can be considered a reward,” the official explained.

However, it is to be noted that the GMC is only banning P2E games, and not games that use blockchain in general. “It is a misconception that the game committee blocks new technology such as blockchain and NFTs,” said GMC chairman Kim Gyu-cheol last month. “The game industry promotion act, unlike other laws promoting culture, is established to prevent speculation.”

South Korea has always maintained a strict stance when it came to gambling, viewing NFT and P2E games as a form of gambling. Last month,  the GMC stated that games featuring tradeable crypto assets such as NFTs cannot be given age-appropriate licenses.

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