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South Korea’s major gaming companies see bright future in China following increased license approvals

A massive opportunity!

The latest reports seem to throw a bright light on major gaming companies from South Korea for their operations in China after successfully obtaining licenses for their games. This opens up opportunities for other companies to consider expanding into mainland China, potentially leading to an increase in the number of games available in the market.

The number of South Korean games granted licenses in China started increasing from late 2022

The report shares that since late 2022, at least 18 South Korean video games have been granted licenses for commercial release in China, including the ones from the bigger fishes such as Nexon, NCSoft, and Netmarble. This positive development comes after regulatory crackdowns and geopolitical tensions between South Korea and China, which had previously impacted the gaming industry.

These approvals encompass major titles such as Nexon’s Dungeon & Fighter Mobile, Netmarble’s The King of Fighters ALLSTAR, and NCSoft’s Blade & Soul 2. Note that these are all old releases but were yet to enter China. The recent surge in licenses for these games indicates China’s growing interest in foreign titles in its gaming market as why not since South Korean game imports have already demonstrated success, generating substantial revenue.

dungeon & fighter mobile release
Image via Nexon

As I mentioned earlier, China’s decision to relax restrictions on South Korean game imports signals a notable departure from past bans and regulatory obstacles amid political tensions. This is backed by the fact that before December 2022, only two South Korean games had obtained licenses for mainland China in the six years since March 2017, which is very low.

The approval of licenses for well-known franchises such as Dungeon & Fighter Mobile has reportedly ignited enthusiasm among gamers and analysts, anticipating increased revenue for both Chinese and South Korean gaming companies, and if I were to predict, this would open up more cases of development for other franchises.

Despite few hurdles, the potential for collaboration remains high

However, challenges remain, particularly for older franchises like Dungeon & Fighter, which may face difficulties competing with newer, more advanced games. Another hurdle would be the regulations that are currently in China, such as excessive gaming spending and screen time restrictions, both being health and economic concerns which I believe are valid to fight game addiction, although it does hurt the revenue in the long run.

China grants gaming licenses
Image via Unsplash

Nonetheless, the approval of licenses for established companies indicates the possibility of ongoing collaboration and expansion in the gaming industry between South Korea and China. To get more releases, companies from South Korea can team up with major Chinese giants such as Tencent Games, NetEase, and HoYoverse to name a few to introduce new experiences. With that being said, let us wait and see how things will turn out in the future.

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