MIC resumes the licensing to online games to revive game industry

VietNamNet Bridge – Online game firms now can sigh with relief as they can develop online games openly without any secretiveness.

online games, game industry, MIC

After three years long of waiting, online game firms have obtained what they want. The Decree No. 72 on Internet services which takes effects on September 1, 2013 stipulates that the licensing to online games would be resumed.

Under the decree, online games would be classified in accordance with the method of providing and using services, and in accordance with the ages of gamers.

With the former classification method, there would be G1, G2, G3 and G4. The online games belonging to the G1 group must get the license from the MIC to be put into commercial development. Meanwhile, online game firms must have the certificates on the registration for providing online game services and the notices on providing services for each game.

The government’s decision to resume the licensing to online games has been applauded by the business community. From August 2010 to the end of August 2013, MIC restricted the licensing to online games after receiving the complaints about the negative influences of online games to the society. Only the games which propagate the history, culture and the games with educational contents were licensed.

The ban then forced many online game firms to operate in the darkness. In order to earn their living, the firms decided to violate the laws, launching unlicensed games into the market.

A report showed that about 200 unlicensed games have been available on the market. The MIC’s inspectors have found out that 100 percent of enterprises violated the current regulations on online game distribution. Especially, Sunsoft has been prosecuted for breaking the regulations.

However, online games have been warned that it would not easy for them to make money when the licensing is resumed. The new decree stipulates stricter regulations and it requires more sub-licenses.

Nguyen Trong Duong, Director of the Information Technology Department of MIC, informed at a conference held in early August that the suspension of licensing online games for a long time led to the sharp fall of the growth of the digital content industry in 2012.

According to Duong, the turnover of the digital content industry in 2012 was $1.235 million, or VND2,700 billion, while the industry has witnessed the signs of declining in growth.

By refusing to license domestic online games, Vietnam has hindered the development of the digital content industry. Meanwhile, this could not help control the distribution of online games in the market. While domestic online games were prohibited, foreign games still flooded the market and the distributors did not pay any dong in tax to the state.

However, the figures about the turnover of the digital content industry released by MIC and enterprises vary. They reported at a recent workshop on heightening the effectiveness of online games that the turnover from games was VND6 trillion.

Duong, when asked about the accuracy of the figures, confirmed that the figure he provided was the exact one, which would be put into the White Book on information technology.

The MIC’s report showed the double growth in the turnover of the hardware and electronics industry in 2012. The turnover was $11.326 million in 2011 and rose to $23,015 million in 2012. The revenue was mostly made up by foreign invested enterprises such as Samsung, Canon and Intel.

Buu Dien

online games, game industry, MIC