[Part II] On KakaoTalk Policy Changes – how will it affect the Korean mobile industry?
1월 17, 2013

True story bro.

Kakao will be changing its policies on KaTalk game invite messaging. The South Korean IM giant will be extending the length of time it takes to resend the request from 7 days to 31 days (which is a lot!). In other words, if you sent me a game request a month ago to play Dragon Flight, then there’s no way that you’re going to be able to resend it again to me after only a week. This change will be in force from this January.

No more annoying game requests?... Sweet Jesus

Praise the lord. Sweet, sweet Moses. No more annoying gaming requests. But what about the app developers? Well, It is the app developer’s job to streamline their mobile games to have the invite message system in place. So, this means that new Kakao games launched after January 22 will have to change their system to fit this new policy. Existing games have an extra 20 days to change it.

You’ll know that AniPang was a nationwide phenomenon, if you’ve been reading my articles. Some say that AniPang’s success was due to the launch of Kakao’s gaming service. But ever since then, there were a lot of complaints made regarding the annoying KakaoTalk game requests. Personally, I can understand where they are coming from. It gets in the way when you’re trying to work. Missing important messages because of game requests. Sometimes I even turned off my KakaoTalk notification alarm and only checked messages when I needed to. So I guess from my point of view, they were spam.

This change can be seen as a policy to fix the idea of ‘spam’ with KakaoTalk. Kakao has indeed tried to fix this problem before – they got people to wait a week before sending another message out, they let people adjust their settings… but the problem never went away.

The general reaction of mobile game developers? Well, the politically correct answer would be ‘they’re watching what they are doing’.

Some people say that this will make it harder for people to promote their games through invites  - which from their point of view is very worrying. Initially, you could fully make use of Kakao by utilizing the massive user net. The network. In other words, it could easily spread amongst others. If the length of time increases to a month, it will be more difficult to reach out to users.

Could this mean that there could not be another phenomenon like ‘AniPang’? I doubt it. If the quality of the game is good, then people will play it. But then again, you cannot ignore the fact that game invites do have a significant impact on the promotion of games. 22,000,000 people played the game through receiving game requests.

However, some are saying that this is a very good change (I just got another game request as I was writing this very sentence) - many people expressed their discomfort at receiving requests, and they will be able to ‘enjoy’ gaming more and will have a much better user experience.

Kakao’s effort to lessen the effect of these ‘spam’ invites should be welcomed by mobile game developers. Theoretically, if it all works out, this policy will not only be able to stop potential gamers from turning away from the gaming industry and but also enable game requests to have a positive stigma to it. More of ‘hey, this game is really fun to play, I really recommend it to you’ rather than ‘PLAY THIS GAME. PLAY IT.’

You might have guessed what my next article will be about – platforms. Users’ experiences with games naturally lead to an understanding and ‘feel’ of the platform that provides it. If Kakao wants to expand further, they will need to optimize their user experience as much as they can. As I said in my ‘Part I – in anticipation of Kakao’s overseas expansion’, we’ll be covering more news on Kakao (and Line in relation to that!) along with many other IMs that already exist overseas. Watch this space!

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