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China will ban new Korean games from being published - report

Controversial THAAD missile system has sparked a crackdown on Korean products of many kinds

The Chinese government will prevent new games made in South Korea from being published in the country - the apparent consequence of Korea's deployment of the THAAD missile system.

According to a report from the Nikkei, the news has already caused shares Nexon, a company founded in Korea but based in Japan, to plummet. Nexon earns a significant amount of revenue in China - around 40%, according to Niko Partners - and it is not alone in that respect.

This is just one facet of China's response to Korea's acquisition of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system, which is manufactured by Lockheed Martin in the US, and will be operated by US forces. According to a statement from the Pentagon, the THAAD system's position is a "defensive measure" against North Korea, but China is concerned about its implications in the long-term. The Washington Post has a useful primer on the situation.

According to Daniel Ahmad, who analyses the Chinese and SE Asian markets for Niko Partners, the "crackdown" that has resulted applies to Korean products of many kinds.

Last year, China's State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film, and Television tightened regulations around foreign-made games. The new regulations were concerned with content, specifically ideas and themes related to politics and the military, but they also made the approval process more complex and long-winded for international companies.

This situation is more specific, however. Speaking to Pocket Gamer, Ahmad said that the ban will cause obvious problems for games that have not yet been granted a license in China, but "it is unclear at this time how long this ban will last and whether already approved games will have their licenses revoked."

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Matthew Handrahan

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Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.