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Google fined $32 million in Korea over game exclusivity requirements

Korean regulator the KFTC claims Google sought to become dominant by preventing devs launching titles on a rival app marketplace.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

April 11, 2023

1 Min Read
The Google Play logo on a black background

Google has been fined $32 million by a South Korean trade regulator for blocking the release of mobile games on a rival platform.

As reported by Reuters, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) said that Google sought to become dominant in the region by requiring developers to make their mobile games exclusive to Google Play in exchange for in-app exposure between June 2016 and April 2018.

According to the KFTC, that exclusivity requirement damaged the performance and value of local app marketplace the One Store, making it harder for the Korean storefront to generate revenue.

Google said it respectfully disagrees with the KFTC's findings, and implied it has always made "substantial investments in the success of developers."

The KFTC, meanwhile, said it is acting to ensure fair markets are maintained in Korea, and noted that some major studios including Nexon, NCSoft, and Netmarble were impacted by Google's behavior.

Google now plans to review the KFTC's final decision before deciding how to respond.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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