S. Korea may block Google's Android market on unregulated game contents
By Lee Youkyung
SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) -- Google Inc. may be barred from operating an Android market place in South Korea, if it continues to circulate game contents without approval from the country's regulating body, government officials said Thursday.
South Korea's Games Ratings Board has sent a letter to Google Korea requesting that it abide by the local law, which requires all video games to be rated by the board.
"If Google does not take any measures, we may block the Android market here," said Lee Jong-bae, a board official. Some 4,400 game contents, which have not been rated by the country's board, are currently available to South Korean users on the Android market, he added,
The Android market provides contents and applications that could be downloaded to the smartphones that run on Google's Android operating system. Two phone models from LG Electronics Inc. and Motorola Inc. have launched here in last two months with more coming over this year.
Google Korea is currently reviewing the letter, the company's spokeswoman Park Sun-kyung said by phone.
Other foreign operators of such application market places, a fairly new retail channel here with the launch of the iPhone only about three months ago, have devised ways to deal with local regulations.
Apple Inc., which runs App Store for iPhone users, does not provide App Store's game category to South Korean users.
"Apple perhaps thought it may be difficult to abide by the local law," said the South Korean official. "But Apple at least closed the game category. And we are monitoring the games that appear on its entertainment category."
South Korean game software makers list their game products on App Store's entertainment category for this reason. Most South Korean users also bypass by creating a secondary account set outside Korea in order to download thousands of game contents on App Store.