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Private ratings boards and the rebirth of an RPG, this week in Korean news

Gamasutra rounds up the week's biggest reports on South Korea's booming online games market from local news site This Is Game, including the Selecive Shutdown Law, game ratings, and more.
[Gamasutra rounds up the week's biggest reports on South Korea's booming online games market from This Is Game, the leading English-language site about the country's game industry.] In our latest round-up of news from South Korea's online games space, we look at the privatization of game ratings, an MMO for popular RPG series War of Genesis, and the Selective Shutdown Law taking effect soon. KAOGI prepares to privatize game ratings group Trade association Korea Association of Game Industry and nine partner firms have established the Private Rating Organization Bureau, a group that will prepare the transfer of game ratings from the government's Game Rating Board to a private organization. PROB will play a role in setting up the eventual organization that will classify games for release in South Korea starting in July. KAOGI says the planned ratings firm will operate under strict standards in regards to "transparency, predictability, and convenience in procedures." "We will transfer the rights of rating games and hosting [trade show] G-star from the GRB to a private group," says South Korea's Culture Minister KwangSik Choi. "We hope the industry will prepare flawlessly, as autonomy accompanies responsibility." Popular Korean RPG series returns with MMO Softmax announced that it will revive its War of Genesis RPG series, considered by some as South Korea's equivalent of the Final Fantasy franchise, with an MMORPG. This will be the first mainline release for the locally popular series in 12 years. Introduced in 1995, the War of Genesis line has sold over 700,000 copies in Korea. Renowned artist Hyung-tae Kim, who is now heading development for NCsoft's MMO Blade & Soul, made a name for himself working on War of Genesis and Softmax's Magna Carta series. "Blizzard did a good job on melding history and content [with World of Warcraft]," says Softmax director YunKyu Choi. "I believe [our] series has some history and a world of its own. So we are putting a lot of effort into conveying our own feelings and worlds through keeping the characteristic content and history of the game, avoiding simple grinding and leveling." Selective Shutdown law also seeks to combat online game addiction Along with South Korea's recently implemented Shutdown Law that blocks younger users from playing online games late at night, the Ministry of Culture Sports and Tourism's new Selective Shutdown Law will take effect on January 22. The Selective Shutdown Law also seeks to combat online game addiction by forcing major online game companies (including Nexon, NCsoft, Blizzard, Neowiz Games, and others) to block kids under the age of 18 if the children or their parents request it. Companies that generate over $26 million annually must enforce the Selective Shutdown Law in their games, and offer options for kids and children to put in a block request. Firms that make between $4-26 million must offer options but do not have to enforce them, while the remaining companies are not beholden to the law. [This story was written with permission using material from ThisIsGame Global, the leading English-language site about the South Korean game industry.]

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