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North Korea launches Ronaldo mobile game – BBC News

Screen shot from game featuring Ronaldo

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Arirang-Meari

Image caption

North Korean football fans can pick up skills by playing Ronaldo

North Korea has launched a new mobile game that features Portuguese football legend Cristiano Ronaldo.

State media have boasted that King of Scoring 2019 is enjoying popularity across the country, as it features many big stars in European football still active on the pitch.

The game allows users to learn and practice different football skills, and judging by images from the game, they can do so by selecting to play Ronaldo himself.

Screenshots published on the Arirang-Meari website suggest that its designers might have sought inspiration from Japanese football game Pro Evolution Soccer, which has been released annually since since 2001.

Education and war

King of Scoring 2019 is the latest in a string of games for mobile phones released in North Korea in recent years. State media, where these releases are advertised, report that gaming is becoming an increasingly popular pastime.

Many of the games have an educational aspect, like Competition for Badminton, Journey for Maths, and Preserving Health.

Other examples include war-themed games featuring newly-developed weapons, where users can launch “nuclear depth bombs” and “anti-submarine rockets” against virtual enemies.

The growing popularity of video games has been made possible by the proliferation of mobile phones in the country.

Demand is such, it’s reported, that the country has begun to produce it’s own line of smartphones.

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Earlier this month, it launched its latest smartphone called Gildongmu, which translates as “fellow traveller”. It’s said to boast high-tech features like face recognition and fingerprint unlocking.

But analysts are sceptical that all the components are made in North Korea, as claimed, saying it’s common practice for North Korean brands to attach their names to Chinese phones.

Despite the country’s technological advances, which are regularly emphasised in the state media, lack of an internet-based app store means that gamers have to visit a physical store where they can download the apps they want, according to the NK News specialist news portal.

Reporting by Tae-jun Kang

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