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Korean gaming industry concerned about increased regulation in 2014

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Gaming industry officials in South Korea are looking to 2014 with a mix of hope and trepidation, with prospects for continued growth dampened by the specter of heightened government regulation, reports the Korea Times.

According to the Korea Creative Contents Agency, the country's gaming market saw almost 10 percent year-over-year growth in 2013, with gaming-related exports rising to $29 million, 60 percent of all cultural exports from Korea. That included a 50 percent jump in the market for mobile games, to a total revenue this year of 1.2 trillion won (approximately $1.14 billion).

Online games continued to be successful in 2013, such as Riot Games' League of Legends. The Korea Times reports that it has been the most-played game in Korean "PC bangs," or internet cafes (photo above), for more than a year. Riot announced last month that the League of Legends Season 4 World Championship will be held in South Korea in 2014.

But the Korean president's political party, the Saenuri Party, is continuing efforts to implement tougher regulation on video games. The country already has a law in place that restricts minors under the age of 16 from playing games between midnight and 6 a.m., and some party representatives have argued that games are as addictive as substances such as drugs and alcohol. According to the Korea Times, the nation's Ministry of Health and Welfare is planning a public hearing on the subject for some time in 2014.