This article is written by James Jung , founder of Korea-based technology blog Onsuccess.me, where you can find insights into Korean startup ecosystem and tech space.
Apple, on November 2, opened a game category window on its Korean App-store, thanks to which Korean users no longer need foreign account access to download games using Apple’s App-store. With this step, Apple has opened up the previously inaccessible world of some 60,000 mobile gaming apps for its Korean users to enjoy.
The release of a game-category has long been a wish for Apple users in Korea, ever since the iPhone’s release some 2 years ago. During that period, global companies such as Google and Apple have refrained from opening a gaming category on their Korean services in accordance with the so-called system of advanced caution regarding gaming regulations.
In the future, businesses which provide gaming services on the App-store will need to match the standard criteria for games in order to have their creations approved for use. After businesses which provide gaming services actually bring out a game, they have one month within which to register it with the Game Rating Board. It seems as if the advanced caution regarding gaming regulations, according to which system the companies operated before, has been changed to a system of expost facto consideration.
In its direct provision of games to domestic users, the new gaming category is set to really put the cat among the pigeons in the Korean mobile gaming market.
No sooner had the domestic App-store game category been released than Gamevil came out with mobile versions of a total of 30 games including “Pro Baseball Series,” “Zenonia Series,” “Super Soccer Series,” all registered in Apple’s App-store game-category under the Gamevil tab.
The opening of the gaming category ushers in a new era of cutthroat competition. While it does the lower the barriers for domestic market entry of foreign-made games, it only highlights the lowering of domestic gaming standards. However, the predominant view is that for those domestic gaming businesses which have already made some preparations through, for example, rolling out online versions and services, and so shown a mindset appropriate for the global market, there should be little likelihood of yielding in any way, shape or form their competitive market domination.
One business expert was reported as saying that “this opens one more arena in which gamers can compete around the world, and is a big change for the domestic Korean gaming businesses in their securing of a new distribution channel for the highly loyal Korean domestic market. The increased competition will more than anything sort out which games offer high quality content, and rather than being something which should be feared, in fact is a highly significant development.”