Jong Shin Choi, CEO of Barunson Creative, discussed an issue of console piracy at the G-Seminar 2010 in Korea.
Jong Shin stressed the fact that "The console gaming market in Korea only accounts for 15% compared to 51% market share in the global gaming market." And the piracy issue has to be addressed to guarantee the continuous growth of the local console market.
It 's Not All About Online Games
There are a few console game developers in Korea despite of its small market size. Total of six developers have released eight titles so far.
- Console Game Developers in Korea: Barunson Creative, Daewon Media, Gravity, Just One Interactive, Skonec Entertainment, Softmax
Online Games still take a majority of market share as accounting for 76% of the Korean game market. In 2009, 24 titles for PS3 and PSP released by Sony while only 20 titles for the Nintendo Wii. (The Nintendo Wii console itself was sold more than million units in Korea.)
Jong Shin pointed out that only 22 out of 80 PS3 titles and 12 out of 53 Xbox 360 titles were introduced in Korean language through localization. Nintendo released every title in Korean language due to its company policy. He found that localization costs increase and piracy issue may have been the main reason behind such decrease.
Immediate Action Required
Jong Shin fretted that in the past piracy had been done within a small circle of groups due to its difficulty and limitation. Ever since the introduction of the Nintendo DS, however, console piracy found its way into a mass market and a younger age group.
He said "Nintendo DS has been sold more than 3 million units in Korea but the internal research concluded that the half of the units sold didn't buy any games."
In order to grow the local console market like Japan, consumer education on the piracy issue is needed.
Casual Games Will Rule the World
To view a global gaming market trend, the casual game market is expanding faster than the hardcore market. Nintendo is cashing out in the casual game market.
Microsoft introduced a technology code-named Natal that allows players to play game without a controller for the casual gaming market. A company in Korea are currently developing a game using this technology as well. Sony also plans to release motion controller in this fall to join the competition.
If you look at the trend of Korean console gaming market, cross platform game development based on already famous IPs seems to be a popular choice. An online game with a fan base can be transformed into a console game or find a niche market for the educational games.
During the Q&A, he shared his thought about the console game market and what has to be done.
On Nintendo DS sales
It actually decreased in 2009. The hardware sales recorded 1.6 million units but one of the best selling title, Magic Thousand Chinese Characters (마법천자문: Kor), sold only 110,000 units.
In general, the ratio of the console hardware vs. software sales is 4 to 6. In other words, if someone buys a hardware, s/he usually buys 7.5 softwares. But in Korea the ratio is somewhat like 7 to 3. Only 3 game titles are purchased per 7 consoles.
On actions needed to be taken
There is no short cut in piracy. A government and corporates should commit to a long-term customer education.
On next working title
Currently working on a game based on the Barunson's popular character in Europe. Also, working with Gravity to remake a classic arcade game, Double Dragon for XLBA. Probably an educational game later on.
On Nintendo's third party support
From the early development stage, Nintendo involved with the project in terms of tech support. Nintendo doesn't support any marketing or promotion activities but support a game distribution.