Gaming to get support and fixesMinister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Park Yang-woo met with gaming industry representatives Thursday and promised policy support and regulatory fixes to help maintain growth.
Park held a press conference in Pangyo, Gyeonggi, after touring gaming companies and meeting with sector executives. The press event was attended by presidents of five game industry associations and chiefs of eight local game companies, including Netmarble, Kakao Games and Neowiz.
“The business environment made worse by the lack of funds and intensified competition in overseas markets has made it difficult for small- and medium-sized gaming companies to grow,” he said, adding those companies serve as the backbone of Korea’s gaming industry.
“The government will introduce diverse policies to help the gaming industry realize its growth potential and strengthen its global competitiveness.”
Park, who was appointed to the position last month, said the government is considering expanding its support infrastructure, fostering creative talent and providing tax cuts to help the local gaming industry expand. He also said the ministry will provide necessary assistance for domestic gaming developers to make more virtual-reality (VR) and augmented-reality (AR) games.
The minister is known to be a long-time supporter of the gaming industry. He was asked to serve as the president of the Korea Association of Game Industry, but declined the offer for personal reasons.
In speaking of possible regulatory fixes, the minister said he will look into granting exemptions to individual developers, from the requirement to acquiring mandatory ratings for non-profit creative activities.
The Game Rating & Administration Committee earlier banned five flash game websites for not receiving mandatory ratings for amateur games published on their websites. The ban essentially limited young game developers in honing their programming and design skills.
Park also said the ministry is considering adjusting the payment limit set for adults for offline and online games. The country currently imposes a 500,000-won ($436) limit for in-game purchases for adults and a 70,000-won limit for teenagers.
During the press conference, Park again emphasized that the ministry is opposed to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) plan to include gaming addiction as a mental disorder at its general assembly later this month.
The move was met with heavy objections and criticism from gaming industry and medical experts globally. The ministry publicly expressed its objection to the WHO codifying gaming addiction as a disease by sending a letter to the organization last week.
“Research conducted over five years shows that the primary cause of gaming addiction is not the game itself; rather, it seems to be academic stress and other social and psychological factors,” Park said.
“The social value of the game must be looked at again, and the government needs to work with the gaming industry to create a healthy gaming culture.”
BY KO JUN-TAE [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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