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The Collapse of the Vietnamese Gaming Industry

“It’s becoming unbearable,” said VNG CEO, Le Hong Minh when discussing the current state of the Vietnamese gaming industry.

Since the Ministry of Information and Communication stopped issuing licenses for local gaming companies in 2010, they have seen a sharp decline in profits, only able to stay above water by distributing their software illegally.

The ban on distribution of new online games was passed three years ago due to concerns over the influence of video games on young people. Games that received licenses prior to the ban are outdated and are no longer played, leaving Vietnamese gaming companies in a lurch.

Nguyen Van Khoa, managing director of FPT Online Company, said that his company’s revenues have dropped from VND1 million per player per year to VND700,000 since 2010.

Many companies have ignored the licensing laws in order to keep their business afloat. According to Minh, “If we followed rules seriously, surely every business will be punished.”

Having to operate under the radar, local companies are losing their market share to international concerns that are not regulated by Vietnamese law. The ministry’s Chief Inspector, Nguyen Van Hung, seems aware of the issue but unable or unwilling to change the archaic system:

We have eliminated our own businesses from the game in our own market, allowing foreign companies to control it,” he lamented.

Do Quy Doan, Deputy Minister of Information and Communication said he “sympathized” with the industry and conceded that a “fair” and “complete” look at it is needed.

Should Vietnam fully develop its IT industry, regulations that limit investment and innovation must be closely examined.

[Thanh Nien]

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