South Korea has reportedly asked Apple and Google to remove play-to-earn games from app stores
South Korean fans of video games using the play-to-earn (P2E) model may soon find it hard to play their favorite titles. The government’s Game Management Committee (GMC) has reportedly asked major digital stores, such as Apple App Store and Google Play Store, to remove games that fall under this category.
A report on Naver said the GMC had sent a letter to Apple and Google asking them not to provide rating classifications to new P2E games, essentially prohibiting their release in the country. Under South Korea’s Game Industry Promotion Act, developers and publishers are required to obtain a rating classification to release games in the country. All games, except 18+ titles, can be evaluated for rating classification by the government’s Game Content Rating Board (GRCB) or by Independent Rating Classification Business Entity like App Store and Play Store.
By asking Apple and Google to refrain from giving rating classifications for new P2E games, South Korea is effectively barring them from being released. The agency has also reportedly asked Apple and Google to remove P2E games that are currently available on their platforms.
The increasing popularity of cryptocurrency and non-fungible token (NFT) over the last year has also paved the way for the rise of P2E titles, like “Axie Infinity” and “Splinterlands,” worldwide. These are commonly referred to as NFT games because they require players to purchase in-game items, which are usually NFTs, to participate.
NFTs are digital assets with unique characteristics that can be traded using cryptocurrencies and with ownerships being recorded in the blockchain. In “Axie Infinity,” the Axies are NFTs, and players will have to purchase three of them before they can join the game. The game’s economy uses and rewards players with Axie Infinity Shard and Smooth Love Potion, which are both cryptocurrencies based on the Ethereum blockchain.
It is this very nature of P2E games that South Korea’s GMC is contesting. “It is reasonable to keep P2E games from getting age ratings under the current law because cash rewards in games can be considered prizes,” a GMC official said (via CoinTelegraph) on Tuesday.