|"Summoners War: Sky Arena" by Com2us / Courtesy of Com2us|
By Kim Jae-heun
The Chinese government has introduced a new licensing system for both domestic and international games companies that is likely to create further difficulty for Korean firms as it forces new games to include communist ideology and contribute to promoting Chinese culture.
"We won't be able to get a sales license again this year. It is like the Chinese government is saying it will implement the new system as a weapon to protect its domestic game industry," a source said.
According to the Korea Creative Content Agency's (KCCI) report "Weekly Global," Tuesday, the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China's new regulation gives five criteria by which a game will be evaluated from 0 to 5: ideology, cultural meaning, originality, quality and development level.
A game requires an average three points in all categories for a license and if it receives zero in any individual category, it will be automatically excluded.
The Propaganda Department said its new system aims to provide specific guidelines that will help game companies promote cultural meaning and political ideals in their games.
However, local firms argue that Beijing is utilizing games to bolster its argument that some Korean cultural icons ― hanbok and kimchi ― originate from China.
Recently, a Chinese game showed Korean pop star IU wearing a traditional costume from the Qing Dynasty, which looked almost identical to hanbok, Korea's traditional clothing.
Last November, another Chinese game "Shining Nikki" also launched a hanbok item for its game character in celebration of its service launch in Korea, leading Chinese users to allege that hanbok originated from their own culture. Paper Games, the operator of "Shining Nikki," announced it was shutting down its Korean server the following month as controversy flared.
"Such controversy led the Chinese government to take action. This new regulation means it will not import any games that defy Sinocentrism," an industry source said. "We expected something from China but this is ridiculous. It is as if we have to make a game for China."
Over the past four years, the Chinese government has been strict on approving sales licenses for Korean games. The Korean government's approval of the deployment of an American THAAD antimissile system in Seoul in 2017 triggered this economic revenge by Beijing. Only one Korean game "Summoners War: Sky Arena" by Com2us has been licensed for release in China since then.