Com2us, a South Korean mobile game company, announced that it acquired a foreign game service license from China’s media regulator National Press and Publication Administration for the first time in almost four years, ending the total ban on Korean games, which started in 2017.
The Com2us mobile game, “Summoners War: Sky Arena,” received approval from China’s National Press and Publication Administration. The approval led the way for Com2us to penetrate the Chinese market finally.
The Summoners War series mobile game became a global sensation in 2014 and generated 80 percent of its profits abroad. The approval would also enhance the mobile game’s performance in Asia, including China, whose game market amounts to six times larger than in Korea.
Wi Jung-hyun, business administration professor at Chung-Ang University and head of the Korea Game Society, stated that the approval marks a calculated move from China. China might lift its ban on Korean games in response to the recently growing Korea-US alliance and observe Korea’s reaction.
China blocked Korean game companies from exporting their games to the country since March 2017. Beijing discontinued issuing licenses as a form of retribution for the placement of a U.S. THAAD missile defense system in South Korea.
The deployment aimed to counter North Korea’s growing missile and nuclear threats. However, China repeatedly urged South Korea to extract the U.S. defense system because it could upset China’s security interests.
China holds the world’s largest game market, which totals about 40 trillion won ($36.5 billion).
Good News for Korean Game Industry
The Korea Association of Game Industry commented that the approval provided good news, but the industry should take precautions as it could end abruptly.
According to the Korea Tourism Organization, industries like tourism also suffered from China’s retaliation. Chinese tourists traveling to South Korea declined to more than 30 percent from 2017 until 2020.
The issuance of new licenses to U.S. based company games by China also makes it difficult for Korean game companies to enter the Chinese market. Industry officials also said that while China blocked local Korean companies from exporting games to China, Chinese firms continue to profit in Korea.
D.B. Financial Investment analyst Hwang Hyun-joon said that the latest video game approval increased hopes that more South Korean games could enter the Chinese market.
Other game experts requested more support from the Korean government to local game companies aiming to penetrate the Chinese market.
Com2us targets to launch its game, Summoners War: Lost Centuria, within the first quarter of 2021 in China.
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