Report: China still refuses to license new South Korean-developed games

Tensions originated with South Korea’s THAAD missile defence system which led to China’s unofficial license boycott

Report: China still refuses to license new South Korean-developed games

The Chinese Government has yet to budge from an unofficial boycott of South Korean games, according to The Chosun Ilbo.

The South Korean newspaper reported that China had authorised the sale of 412 foreign online games from March 2017 until April this year, but none of them were Korean.

On the other hand the South Korean government licensed 111 Chinese online games in the same period which netted Chinese games developers around ₩200 billion ($188 million), up by around ₩80 billion ($75.2 million) from a year earlier.

South Korean games developers fear that the pinch will have a lasting effect on their revenues.

According to the Korea Creative Content Agency, China netted South Korea around ₩1 trillion ($937 million) in 2016.

One staffer at a Korean games developer reportedly said: "Korean companies can't afford to complain to China for fear of retaliation, and Korean government officials have failed to listen to our difficulties, let alone address the issue."

It was furthered reported that Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi met with Korean President Moon Jae-in late last month and pledged to end the boycott but it has had little effect so far.

Origins of tension

The unofficial boycott was believed to be in response to the deployment of a THAAD missile defence system in South Korea last year. It was built in partnership with the US to help protect the country and its allies from perceived threats by countries such as North Korea. China however claimed the deployment was a threat to its security.

As part of its response, China froze new licenses on South Korean games which affected any and all games yet to be released in China that had been developed in South Korea.

The boycott has even stretched to games events. During ChinaJoy 2017 all mentions of South Korea were removed from Korea’s Pavilion.

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Staff Writer

Iain is a freelance writer based in Scotland with a penchant for indies and all things Nintendo. Alongside PocketGamer.Biz, he has also appeared in Kotaku, Rock Paper Shotgun, PCGamesN and VG24/7.