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The South Korean government is taking a stand against NFTs, attempting to block the release of new crypto-inspired play-to-earn mobile games and demanding the removal of existing ones from the Apple and Google app stores.

Play-to-earn games have recently been growing in popularity among crypto enthusiasts, as they use similar blockchain technology and allow players to invest and make money just by playing. Most of these apps typically require users to first purchase non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which can then be used to play and earn in-game rewards.

But according to South Korean law, games that offer prizes worth more than 10,000 Korean won ($8.42) are banned throughout the country, and the government has introduced tough regulations regarding gambling, gaming, and age ratings. The Game Management Committee (GMC), which is part of South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, has described pay-to-earn games as speculative money-making schemes and has made a move to outlaw ones which require in-app purchases in order to play.

P2E game developers have already had a hard time releasing their apps on the South Korean market, as they have struggled to obtain an age rating for their products, which is a requirement for them to be listed. 

“It is reasonable to keep P2E games from getting age ratings under the current law because cash rewards in games can be considered prizes,” said a GMC spokesperson. 

While the games won’t necessarily be banned outright, the new regulations mean that P2E games will have a hard time finding audiences, and their unavailability on Apple and Google’s app stores will further limit their reach.