South Korea fines Google $32M for blocking builders from releasing video games on rival’s platform  

South Korea’s Honest Commerce Fee (KFTC) has fined Alphabet’s Google 42.1 billion gained (~ $32 million) for blocking builders from releasing cellular video video games on a Korean competitor platform known as One Retailer.

The KFTC stated on Tuesday that Google allegedly required Korean online game companies to solely launch their new video games within the Play Retailer from June 2016 to April 2018. Meaning Google banned the native recreation makers from releasing their content material on One Retailer in return for providing Google’s in-app publicity and additional help for world enlargement. 

One Retailer, an area peer of Google’s Play Retailer, was based in June 2016 by South Korea’s three telcos — SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus — and web big Naver. 

Google’s native market share within the cellular Android app market elevated to roughly 90% to 95% in 2018, up from round 80% to 85% in 2016, whereas One Retailer’s market share accounted for about 5% to 10% in 2018, which fell from 15% to twenty% in 2016, per the info compiled by the KFTC. 

Korea’s antitrust watchdog stated the transfer is a part of an effort to make sure honest competitors within the app market by stopping the U.S. tech big from abusing its dominant place. 

Google Play and One Retailer generate greater than 90% of home gross sales from promoting video games, in line with the KTFC press launch. Google’s exercise affected the gaming companies, from massive online game makers comparable to NCSoft, Netmarble, and Nexon to small and mid-sized recreation builders, the KFTC stated.  

“We have now cooperated diligently with the KFTC’s investigation and deliberation course of for the previous 5 years and consider that there was no violation of the regulation,” a spokesperson at Google stated in an emailed assertion. “Google makes substantial investments within the success of builders, and we respectfully disagree with the KFTC’s conclusions. We’ll rigorously assessment the ultimate written resolution as soon as it’s shared with us to judge the subsequent plan of action.”

In 2021, the KFTC fined Google $177 million for abusing its market dominance within the Android working system (OS) market.

Google claims it has contributed to the expansion and profitable world enlargement of the Korean cellular recreation builders which have launched their video games on Play over the past decade.