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Nintendo's Koda: Brain Training, New DS Apps Cracked Korea

In a new Gamasutra feature, Nintendo's Mineo Koda said the company is succeeding in PC-heavy Korea by "making sure everything we do is relevant to the the Korean p
For decades, Nintendo has been a fixture in Japan and the West. But, like its console competitors, it has traditionally faced an uphill battle in PC-dominated South Korea Unlike its competitors, however, Nintendo has been making inroads in Korea, thanks to a highly localized and focused strategy centering around custom-developed content and a unified marketing strategy around its Nintendo DS platform. In a new Gamasutra feature, Nintendo of Korea president Mineo Koda said the company's "first major area of concern" in making its Korean push was "making sure that everything we would do would be relevant to the the Korean people." That includes more attention put on educational games -- an area Nintendo had a leg up already, thanks to its successful Brain Training series, which has the secondary benefit of bridging generational divides. "Brain Training went on to become known here as the first-ever software that could work as a tool to improve intergenerational communication, and by means of it, we were able to convince people in Korea who previously had no interest in games that they could in fact be a source of real value," Koda explained. Nintendo also developed educational software that's "all-new, specifically created for the Korean market," like the writing tool Magical Chinese Characters. Those initiatives have allowed Nintendo's mindshare and console marketshare quickly overtake that of its competitors, as Microsoft and Sony face lackluster sales and maintain languishing retail demonstration kiosks. "As we've done up to now, we will continue to make great efforts in Korea so that the DS and Wii can further become convenient, helpful, and invaluable tools in the lives of consumers, creating experiences that can be enjoyed with friends and family and that impart joy to all who join in," Koda said. "This is our vision." The full interview with Koda is available to read on Gamasutra.

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