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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Krafton under fire over unrestricted customization of NewJeans in PUBG

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Girl group NewJeans has found itself at the center of controversy following the latest update in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) as some gamers dressed characters modeled after the members in revealing outfits.

Game publisher Krafton collaborated with NewJeans’ agency ADOR to roll out various in-game items and outfits to customize characters resembling the members in the PUBG update on June 12.

Problems arose, however, after some users began to create and post inappropriate content by clothing the members’ avatars in outfits like bikinis and short pants.

The issue is exacerbated by the fact that two of the members, Haerin and Hyein, are underage.
Avatars of NewJeans in the Krafton’s R-rated game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) [KRAFTON]

Following the posts, Krafton and ADOR issued a joint statement on Thursday that they will “take active measures” to protect the artists by removing the problematic content and holding the creators responsible by restricting their activities in the online game community.

“Recently, there have been instances where some users have created and shared inappropriate posts using NewJeans characters,” the statement read. “This behavior does not align with the brand image and values of both parties and is offensive to all of the group’s fans. We will take appropriate measures regarding items that do not fit the purpose of the collaboration soon.”

The announcement stirred protest among gamers who were uncertain whether the customization feature for their already-purchased NewJeans items would be restricted without prior notice.

Krafton issued another statement the same day that they will do their best to minimize restrictions on the items.

“Since the standards for inappropriateness are subjective, we will do our best to minimize restrictions,” the publisher said. “The specifics are currently under discussion, but we aim to reduce any inconvenience to players through measures such as layering shorts under outfits deemed inappropriate for NewJeans characters.”

Some gamers have blamed ADOR for setting loose standards for the members’ avatars in an R-rated game, mentioning Krafton’s previous collaboration with YG Entertainment’s Blackpink.

“When Blackpink collaborated with PUBG, the contract stipulated that only their dance moves and outfits could be used — the members’ faces were strictly off limits,” one poster wrote.

“Ultimately, ADOR is entirely responsible for the current predicament. YG knew that allowing face customization could lead to sexual objectification of Blackpink members so it did not allow that. [Meanwhile,] ADOR obliviously permitted Krafton to offer unrestricted customization of NewJeans’ avatars. It’s difficult for ADOR to claim that they didn’t foresee this issue even with YG’s precedent.”

BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]