Korean government tells Apple and Google stores to take down P2E games

The South Korean government has demanded that current play-to-earn (P2E) games be deleted from Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

In the bitcoin business, peer-to-peer gaming has grown in popularity. In order to play the game and obtain in-game benefits, gamers must first acquire game pieces as non-fungible tokens. In South Korea, however, gambling winnings above a few dollars are prohibited.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism’s Game Management Committee (GMC) asked that major mobile app markets restrict any games that need in-app purchases before playing.

The GMC has made it nearly hard for P2E game producers to have their work published on the most major mobile app stores in order to fight the growth of what it perceives as speculative money-making techniques.

While the government’s move to direct P2E games to app markets is a fresh development, game producers in South Korea have been fighting legal fights since April to keep their P2E games available in domestic app stores. The major issue was that certain gaming apps were unable to achieve the appropriate age rating for app store placement.

According to a GMC spokesman, the commission is just following Supreme Court precedent in prohibiting P2E games from receiving age ratings and being placed on the market. In a statement issued on December 28, the official said:

“Under the existing rules, it is appropriate to restrict P2E games from receiving age ratings because monetary payments in games might be considered prizes.”
In South Korea, gaming prizes are limited to 10,000 KRW ($8.42) at a time.

The Fivestars for Klaytn P2E game and nonfungible token (NFT) marketplace were first barred in domestic app stores due to a lack of a rating, but the game’s developers obtained an injunction in June, and the game was re-listed. The game’s legal position is likely to create a legal precedent for other P2E games, such as Infinite Breakthrough Three Kingdoms Reverse if a final ruling is made.

David Shin, Head of Global Adoption at Klaytn Foundation, explained why he believes authorities have taken a harsh line against P2E gaming.

“Due to the froth in the market caused by speculative activity, play-to-earn games and crypto in general are viewed with dread; but, as that froth fades, authorities all over the world may be more inclined to regulating Web 3.0 as a permanent element of the digital economy.”
According to DappRadar, the GMC’s attitude has serious consequences for all P2E gaming applications, including the suite of apps linked with the two most popular games to date: Axie Infinity and Splinterlands.