As the enforcement ordinance and regulations on “self-rating system,” which allows private game developers to classify their video games into suitability-related groups, started taking effect from January 1, Nexon is seeking to push forward an online game-only platform business for PCs using the system. Accordingly, expectations are growing that South Korean platform, which can compete with foreign ones in the online game market, can be developed, though they lost out to foreign platforms, such as Google Play and Apple’s App Store, in the domestic mobile game market.
According to the Game Rating and Administration Committee (GRAC) and industry sources familiar with Nexon on January 3, Nexon is currently considering the participation in selecting the government’s self-rating system operators and the business plans of its own online game platform, tentatively called “Nexon Platform,” at the same time.
Until now, online games, which were released after their ratings were reviewed by the GRAC, were subject to the regulations of payment limit, which is up to 500,000 won (US$414) a month in terms of online games with the adults only rating. However, online games, which are released through private self-rating operators which have implemented starting from this year, will be excluded from the regulations on payment limit. Nexon is planning to become qualified for self-rating operators from the government and attract numerous online games, which are under regulations on payment limit, to its platform. The GRAC said that 182 online games were rated adult only last year alone. The number of online games rated adult only was 191 in 2015 and 145 in 2014.
The self-rating system has come up in order for the government to keep pace with rapid changes in the gaming industry with new game platforms, including virtual reality (VR) and smart TVs. It is the system to abolish the government’s preliminary rating system for video games to be distributed in the domestic market, and enables self-rating system operators selected by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to autonomously classify the ratings, except for games that bans teenagers from playing and arcade games.
An industry official who is familiar with Nexon said, “Nexon is preparing for the online game service platform business for situations that restrictions on payment limit for online games are removed. The company can offer its own game services with its online game platform that is now under development. When it draws other online video games to the platform, it will have powerful influence in the market.
Currently, Nexon allows customers to access its 40 online game services with Nexon ID through its official website.
Industry watchers predict that Microsoft (MS), Oculus and Nexon will be three big players in the game self-rating market. According to the GRAC, foreign companies, including MS and Oculus, showed the intention to accept the assessment as self-rating operators.
When MS and Oculus, which run their own consoles, VR device-based console and mobile game platforms “Xbox Live” and “Oculus Market” respectively, are chosen as self-rating system operators, they will be able to launch online games as well as consoles and mobile games through their own platforms.