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China Bans New South Korean Games, Likely Over Security Concerns

The country takes issue with the installment of a new missile defense system.

Image courtesy of Nexon China has announced a freeze on new licenses to sell South Korean games in China, reports the Asia-focused newspaper Nikkei. The move is reportedly in response to the South Korean government installing the US-developed THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile system, meant to help provide defense from an increasingly aggressive North Korea.

It's unclear if games that have already received approval to be sold in China will be impacted, nor how long the ban will go on. The company most impacted is South Korean developer Nexon; the majority of their profits come from outside South Korea, including China. One of their games, Dungeon Fighter Online, is incredibly popular there. A mobile version was imminent.

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Releasing games in China has always been fraught with complications; the country is notoriously picky about what media is allowed, fearing outside influence (aka the government likes to maintain control over media and determine what messages reach its citizens as much as possible).

It was only in 2015, for example, that China formally lifted the ban on selling consoles, even though it wasn't hard to purchase one that'd been imported.

Many Western games, like World of Warcraft, are censored before being allowed in. A reddit thread captured some of the changes in the Chinese version, like the removal of some graphic violence or seemingly religious-like iconography.

Nexon sometimes partners with some Western studios—they're publishing designer Cliff Bleszinski's next game, Lawbreakers.

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