The South Korean government has asked Apple and Google to block "play-to-earn" games in the App Store and Google Play. The country's Game Management Committee requested that the two mobile marketplaces ban games that require in-app purchasing before playing, Coin Telegraph reported.
Play-to-earn games are increasingly being linked with cryptocurrency. Gaming companies like Axie Infinity allow you to earn money within a game by obtaining NFTs you can sell or trade. Sky Mavis, the Vietnam-based company behind Axie allows players to earn AXS tokens by competing against other players or selling their Axie characters as NFTs in the game's marketplace. The tokens can then be sold for real money. The game's popularity hints at its potential to make cryptocurrency mainstream.
As South Korea's decision shows, the gaming model is controversial. Scams and fraud could easily run rampant in a cryptocurrency gaming environment. Valve, which largely controls the PC gaming marketplace, banned games built on the blockchain and involving NFTs in October. Apple and Google have not explicitly banned them yet, though.
South Korea's Game Management Committee has been battling play-to-earn developers in court since April, according to Coin Telegraph. It has prevented some of these apps from getting age ratings within domestic app stores. A Game Management Committee official told Coin Telegraph this was because the games' players could earn above the prize amount allowed by law: 10,000 Korean won, or $8.41.