Video games are becoming so popular in North Korea that the North Korea government are getting involved in game development, it’s been revealed. North Korean defectors have claimed that the likes of GTA5 and FIFA Online are hugely popular in the reclusive nation-state, with LAN parties especially favoured among youth, who exchange games suspected to be smuggled from China on USB drives.
North Korea (or the DPRK, depending on your preference) is infamous for its secretive nature, but from what we can tell via accounts from defectors and those who have visited the nation-state, technology is quite restricted. Many PCs use Red Star OS, a version of Linux modified by the North Korea government, and use an intranet with limited capability. Despite this, it’s allegedly come to light that video games are immensely popular there. So much so, in fact, that the North Korea government themselves are branching out into full-on game development.
According to the Korea Times, who collected accounts from various defectors now living in Seoul, video games like Grand Theft Auto 5 and FIFA Online, a South Korean-developed variant that used the FIFA 06 engine, are really huge among youths. Those who were asked were unsure as to where the games came from and how they made it through North Korean borders, but the likeliest explanation is that they’re smuggled in from China. These games are then distributed via USB drives with altered filename extensions to avoid detection by the North Korea Government, with some even hooking multiple computers up for LAN parties.
Rather than fully crack down on the illegal possession of these games (something that the authorities aren’t “focused on cracking down on,” according to a 14-year-old defector) the North Korea Government has instead opted to go into development themselves. Last year, according to the Sunday Express in the UK, the nation-state released a first-person shooter called Hunting Yankee, and the North Korean Advanced Technology Research Institute has separately released mobile games called Confrontation War, Guardian, and Goguryeo Battlefield.
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