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The games regulations in Japan and Korea are not static, as there are developments in different fields over the recent years. New regulations are likely to ensue in the next few years

SILICON VALLEY, Calif. – March 6, 2023 – Niko Partners, the leading market research and consulting firm covering video games, esports, and streaming in Asia and MENA, today announced the release of the Japan and Korea Regulations Report. The two markets play a significant role in the games industry with Japan and South Korea being the 3rd and 4th largest video game markets in the world by revenue, respectively. It is imperative for companies to understand how the governments and regulators in the respective markets view and regulate video games and esports so they can ensure compliance and build success in the market.

The reports provide details about the recent developments of regulatory measures related to gaming and gamers such as game rating authorities, policies on gacha monetization model, and updates to esports laws in both Japan and Korea.

Key takeaways from the Japan report:

  • Game publishers are expected to require a game rating from the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO)
  • Japan is a unique country when it comes to copyright, particularly in the context of fair use
  • Japanese gambling laws are viewed very strictly
  • Japan has fully regulated the “kompu gacha” mechanism, but other forms of gacha still remain popular in the country
  • Game livestream and esports-related regulations are approached differently in Japan compared to other countries in Asia


Key takeaways from the Korea report:

  • Companies that want to publish their game in Korea need to acquire an age rating from the Game Rating and Administration Committee (GRAC), Game Content Rating Board (GCRB), or the Independent Rating Classification Business Entity (IRCB)
  • While Korean companies are showing interest in Web3 and blockchain games, GRAC is taking a conservative approach particularly related to P2E games
  • GRAC is under scrutiny over its closed-door policy regarding game rating process as well as corruption allegations
  • Korea has abolished its shutdown system for minors’ law in 2022
  • Korea also has a complex and distinctive laws on esports, especially on their contractual arrangements with pro players and trainees
  • The inclusion of gaming disorder as a government-recognized disease could happen in the next few years
  • Korea recently introduced “Anti-Google law” is impacting mobile games in the country


“The games regulations in Japan and Korea are dynamic and changing to bring in more investment and economic benefit while monitoring the impact of gaming and esports on society,” said Lisa Hanson, President of Niko Partners. “It is important for game companies who seek market entry to these two countries to better understand the regulatory requirements and practices. Our report is intended to be a central resource for understanding Japan and Korea’s video game regulations and what to look for before launching a game in the country.”

The Japan Regulations Report is 37 pages long, while the Korea Regulations Report is 29 pages long. Both reports include the overview of regulatory landscape for video games, how to publish games, game rating, game monetization, take rates, consumer-related gaming regulations, esports regulation, and regulations on future game technology.

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Niko Partners is the leading market research firm covering video games, esports, and streaming in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. With native speaking analysts in each of the countries covered, Niko delivers local expertise with a global perspective. Founded in 2002, the firm conducts syndicated and custom research studies on China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Chinese Taipei, Japan, South Korea, India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and United Arab Emirates on the topics of PC games, mobile games, consoles and console games, regulatory issues, piracy, development, game publishers and developers, distribution, internet cafes, esports and more. Niko Partners also offers consulting services including focus groups, partnership selection, IPO and market opportunity analysis, custom surveys and customized data analysis. The company is based in Silicon Valley with offices in Shanghai, Bangkok, Jakarta and London, and its clients include worldwide leaders in game software, hardware, and services, as well as consumer brands, investors, media companies, trade associations, and management consulting firms.