April 6, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
We’re not fans of Apple’s heavy-handed control of its app store, but Steve Jobs has nothing on the South Korean government. Due to laws that require all games be reviewed by SK’s Game Rating Board, Google is going to remove EVERY game in the Android Market. The 4,000+ games in the Android Market will be removed within one month.
The problem is that the KGRB must review every game before they can legally be sold or used in South Korea. The Android Market doesn’t make that easy, and when you factor in having to be reapproved during updates, it just makes more sense to do away with the whole category rather than deal with the logistics headaches of complying with the law. Google “found it impossible to have all games sold on Android rated by the local regulator,” according to YonHap news.
So what will Koreans do to download games? Apple shut down its game store in order to deal with this problem and Koreans simply set-up U.S. iTunes accounts to sidestep the issue. A solution for Android hasn’t emerged yet, but I’d imagine that one of the smaller markets like SlideMe might use this as an opportunity to try and fill in the gaps. They won’t match the Android Market’s reach by any stretch, but it could be better than nothing. Of course, there’s the likelihood that South Koreans will pirate games.
This is a lose-lose-lose situation for Google, developers, and users.