North Koreans get 'Soccer Fierce Battle' computer game

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

image source, ARIRANG-MEARI
image captionSoccer Fierce Battle. It's in the realistic strategies, tactics and techniques

Computer game enthusiasts in North Korea now have access to a 3D football simulator that appears to resemble the world famous "FIFA" series of games.

Soccer Fierce Battle is one of a series of new computer games that has been recently released in the communist country, the NK News website reports.

It's a three-dimensional game produced to "educate its users, through the use of realistic strategies, tactics and techniques," the Korean Herald says, citing China-based North Korean propaganda website Arirang-Meari.

Developers Sujeongcheon Tech say that Soccer Fierce Battle "reflects modern-day soccer and trends", using characters based on real-life players from major tournaments such as the UEFA Champions League. The concept closely resembles games from Electronic Arts' multi-million selling FIFA franchise, the Korea Herald notes.

The game is compatible with PC, mobiles with the Android system, and Microsoft Kinect devices. It appears to only be available in North Korea, in defiance of United Nations sanctions banning the import of luxury goods over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Who's it for?

It's difficult to assess how popular computer games such as Fierce Soccer Battle are in North Korea, where public access to technology is patchy, and usually restricted to the privileged.

While North Korea makes its own tablet computers, and Kim Jong-un has been photographed with a smartphone on his desk, officials surrounding the Supreme Leader still exclusively use old-fashioned notebooks and pens on official visits.

Kim Jong-un is a known football fan and the sport is one of the few foreign influences allowed in North Korean media. There is a state-run digital sports channel for TV viewers, and major tournaments such as the World Cup are aired on the main Central TV, albeit with a delay of several days.

image source, KCNA
image captionDespite the advance of technology in Pyongyang, notebooks still hold sway around the Supreme Leader

Reporting by Alistair Coleman

Use #NewsfromElsewhere to stay up-to-date with our reports via Twitter.