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Korean rating system leads to indie game bans

Freeware games must pay for certification or risk a take-down; Steam and Android also threatened

A number of freeware games have reportedly been banned in South Korea, following their creators' failure to pay for rating.

All games in the country must be age-rated by the government's Game Rating Board (GRB) in order to obtain a legal release. However, this entails a cost to the creator or publisher of between $20 and $700, dependent on file-size.

This has proven difficult for amateur developers creating not-for-profit titles distributed purely online. As detailed by a frustrated post on Reddit, increased GRB monitoring has apparently led to a number of free games being taken down.

The system is affecting for-profit firms too, with Valve's digital distribution service Steam reportedly facing a "complete block" because none of the games it hosts have paid to be GRB-certified.

Earlier this year, the GRB threatened to block Google's Android Market in its entirety unless the over 4000 unrated games on the service paid to be certified.

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Latest comments (2)

Saehoon Lee Lead technical artist, Kuno Interactive11 years ago
What is this ... like a VISA fee for a digitally distributed games? lol I hope not all goverment get interested with this kind of scheme. But then again, it is understandable that GRB wants to have age rated by their own standard. Every country has its own culture so I guess this is one of example. Just because game is free to play it doesn't mean it does not need to have age rated, and that kind of thing is never free.
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Florian Schwarzer Producer, InnoGames11 years ago
What a commercial game publisher can easily pay, a self-publishing garage studio can not. Speaking as the resident of a country with rather stringent age verifications, where a distinction between both has been made for a long time in classical media, the same should be possible in the gaming sphere.
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