Valve Could See The Steam Platform Banned In South Korea Soon If They Don’t Capitulate To Government

Valve Could See The Steam Platform Banned In South Korea Soon If They Don’t Capitulate To Government
Credit: Valve via YouTube

The Game Management Committee of South Korea has announced that Steam may soon be banned from South Korea is they don’t get all of their games rated by South Korean authorities, stated South Korean tech blog itChosun.

This event focuses on South Korea’s Game Industry Promotion Act; a robust and comprehensive (if not exceedingly verbose) article containing bylaws that control what titles can be promoted in South Korea, and how.

South Korea is one of the few countries that have specific articles relating to the promotion and sales of video games, where many other countries rely on typical consumer laws to regulate the products. This is likely due to South Korea’s culture embracing gaming at a root level; far more than many other countries.

The article that has Valve in danger of Steam being banned from South Korea is article 32, regarding the ‘Prohibition of Distribution of Illegal Game Products’.

In a nutshell, Valve has opted not to ensure all of the games on their platform are rated by the Game Management Committee, which means that the titles currently being sold in South Korea aren’t rated by companies similar to the ESRB.

Granted, it’s a difficult position for Valve to find themselves in, as they don’t own the titles being sold on Steam; they’re closer to a delivery service than an additional publisher. This means that the developers and publishers of titles on Steam need to operate in tandem with South Korea’s governance to ensure all titles under their ownership.

What has many fans confused as the news breaks that Valve has reportedly refused to have the titles rated is how eager Valve has been to work with China, bringing various bizarre schemes and censorship that can fundamentally alter what players outside of China can experience.

This likely brings a simple comparison between the purchasing power of South Korea versus China; what both markets can bring in terms of revenue is likely the singular deciding factor in how far Valve is willing to bend to help everything stay on the proverbial up-and-up to make the governments happy.

Valve has operated in the past with China in regards to ensuring the titles are rated and receive a game-service permission from the China Cyberspace Authority.

President of the Korean Game Society Jung-Hyun Wie has stated that while Steam has been skirting the letter of the law in the past, it is likely that they’ll experience difficulties in the near future regarding continuing service within the country. Valve has made no statement regarding itChosun’s statement as of writing.