The emerging South Korean game market is one of the most exciting regional markets - but it's not all StarCraft
binges, and Korea-based journalist Nick Rumas takes a two-part look at the market
for Gamasutra, starting with the fascinating PC games scene in the territory.
Rumas notes in this excerpt that while PC gaming has been embraced by the region, the retail market for such games is nearly nonexistent:
“Even in Yongsan, the retail capital of Korean gaming, there are virtually no customers that come looking for new, legitimate PC games, and as such, hardly any are sold.
Overall, it's a market that barely exists. Granted, every big box retailer -- Lotte Mart, E-Mart, Samsung Tesco HomePlus, etc. -- has a sizable PC games section, but there generally isn't a whole lot of action going on in it.
There are two main factors that contribute to this. First of all, when it comes to new PC games sold at stores, the vast majority of those interested just download them illegally. In Korea, the consensus among the masses is that P2P downloading is a reality that must be accepted and can't be avoided. It's completely commonplace, and has been for years. Additionally, even if someone doesn't download a certain game personally, they can just as easily make the trek to Yongsan and buy a pirated copy of the title for a fraction of its retail price.”
Interestingly, the downloading of pirated software is not looked down upon in Korea as it is in the Western world:
“It's very much a 'topless woman at the French Riviera' scenario -- illegally downloading games in Korea is nothing if not completely and utterly normal, so much so that purchasing a game at full price can be seen as something of an oddball behavior. Where possible, the same applies to console games, but that's for another article.”
You can now read the entire feature
, including a more in depth look at Korea's PC gaming market (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).