A new report from research firm Pearl Research has suggested that the video game market in South Korea will exceed $2 billion in 2007, driven by online and mobile phone games.
South Korea has long been known as having one of the highest penetrations of broadband Internet connections in the world, with 79 percent PC penetration and 12 million out of 15 million households connected to broadband. This is in addition to more than 20,000 Internet cafes, which charge an average of less than $2 an hour - often with game access.
Pearl Research estimates that the PC based online game market will rise to a value of more than $1.2 billion in 2006, maintaining its position as the largest games platform in the country. One of the fastest growing segments is predicted to be casual games that are free to play for ten minutes or less. This segment is believed to account for more than 30 percent of the online games market at the moment.
Mobile phone games represent another fast growing game segment, and is forecasted to exceed $275 million in 2006, driven by new technologies capable of delivering rich media content and heavy marketing by South Korea’s three mobile carriers, SK Telecom, KTF and LG Telecom.
Although traditional home console games continue to be a niche market in the country, they are still valued at $160 million, which is likely to increase as more culturally relevant and localized software is produced and online gameplay becomes more prevalent.
Pearl Research’s full 80-page report, “Games Market In Korea” suggests that continuing obstacles to the South Korean games market are increased domestic competition, too many derivative titles, rising development costs and continuing problems with software piracy on all formats.