Vietnam mulls solutions to prevent unlicensed cross-border games

September 17, 2020 | 10:58 am GMT+7

Preventing unlicensed games from crossing the border to Vietnamese gamers has been an ongoing headache for management agencies.

 In the Rikvip case, a loophole was exploited to seek illegal profit. Criminals used telecom scratch cards on an intermediary payment portal. SBV dies not consider the activity as an intermediary payment operation to manage.

The strong rise of e-wallets in recent years presents a new challenge in controlling unlicensed cross-border games. A door has opened wide through which it is easy to access unlicensed cross-border games. And there is still no measure to prevent it.
The Ministry of Information and Communications, in an effort to tighten control over cross-border games, is amending some articles of Decree 72 by adding the concept of app store and other provisions.
Under the draft of the new decree, app stores would not be allowed to distribute and provide payment services to games that have not yet been licensed, and they would have to remove infringing games per the request of appropriate authorities.
If the owners of app stores don’t follow the regulations, they may be forced to stop operations in Vietnam.
This is an important step to assign the responsibilities and obligations for the companies that are running big app stores in Vietnam, including Apple (App Store), Google (Play Store) and Valve (Steam).
Another big problem is the existence of unlicensed intermediary payment modes. It will be dealt with in a draft decree on cashless payments, under which intermediary payment agents will have their licenses revoked if they commit prohibited behaviors, including supporting gambling. The tentative provision is set with a reference to the Rikvip case.
Which solutions?
In previous consultations, most Vietnamese game distributors proposed applying the post-examination mechanism to G1 Games and removing the regulation on having the game content approved.
Game distributors have been insisting on post-examination mechanism for many years, which helps simplify the administrative procedures they have to follow.
However, if the mechanism is applied, this means that Vietnam would open the door wide for foreign games to flood in Vietnam.
Meanwhile, as for age-based game classification, the management with e-ID cards cannot serve as a tool to effectively control gamers.
Therefore, when drafting the decrees to replace Decrees 72 and 27, MIC has only removed the procedure on granting licenses on providing G1 games, and the procedure on granting registration certificates on providing G2, G3 and G4 games.
This means that if the draft is approved, distributors will still have to apply for licenses on launching G1 games, and for certificates on registering the launching of G2, G3 and G4 games.