VietNamNet Bridge – Online game developers and operators at a workshop in Hanoi last week said online game controls in Vietnam were tight but not efficient.
Le Hong Minh, general director of VNG, said Vietnam’s controls on online games were stricter than any other country in the world. However, the way online games are overseen is backward, he said at a workshop on how to improve the efficiency of online game management, held by the Ministry of Information and Communications.
Vietnam should ban online games with inappropriate content in the first place, rather than forbidding such games after companies have spent big buying them, he said.
The country should monitor young gamers through a system of electronic identity cards following the example of South Korea and China, he suggested.
Circular 60 on online game management was released in 2006, but the thriving period of online games began in 2008, leading to a deficiency in management, he noted.
A new circular has been made to replace the one mentioned above, and the draft Decree 97 also has provisions on online game control, but neither of them has been issued.
In 2010, the information ministry temporarily stopped licensing many genres of online games. Since then, businesses have been unable to launch new games, while having had to pay their employees and cover the costs of management and infrastructure.
Phan Sao Nam, chairman of VTC Online, said some 7,500 people were working in the online game industry. If the licensing process remained slow, the industry would have to wait long, he stressed.
“This industry last year earned around VND6 trillion, or 0.2% of GDP, but it has not been relieved from stringent controls, spelling much trouble for businesses,” he said.
To survive tough times, a number of companies have launched unlicensed online games into the market. Currently, there are over 200 unlicensed games available online in Vietnam.
Nguyen Van Hung, chief inspector of the information ministry, said his agency in 2011-2012 found 14 enterprises publishing online games without permits and fined them a total of VND557 million.
Participants in the workshop proposed authorities soon issue a decree on management of the industry and resume licensing online games so that the industry can develop their business.