Valve’s digital distribution platform might be in a hot water in South Korea, as the Korean government cracks down on unrated games.
The people of South Korea might lose access to their Steam games if the country’s government goes ahead with a plan to block the service because of Valve’s non-compliance with South Korean law. The country requires that all videogames must be rated by the government before they are released to general public, but the process isn’t cheap and so many developers and publishers don’t do it – including Valve.
The Korean government set a precedent with the web game Tribe Wars, blocking access to the game when its developers refused to have it rated. According to an insider from the Korean government department in charge of videogames rating, a similar block is on the table for Steam, although the department is said to be seeking alternative options.
Presumably, each developer or publisher will have to decide whether it’s worth its while to submit its games to the South Korean rating board, making this situation even more complicated. Without knowing exactly how much it costs to have a game rated, it’s hard to guess what might happen. Reports suggest that the fees can run to thousands of dollars however, which might be outside the budgets of the smaller developers that use the service. It could be that Steam will continue to operate in the country, but with a significantly reduced library.