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Business  22, May 2014

Want to make it big with online games in Korea? It’ll be hard

Latest analytics from IHS show that established companies like NCSoft and Nexon are earning revenue from backlog, not from new games


Unless you have the backings of a large game publisher, it’ll be hard to crack the online PC gaming market in South Korea.

A report from analytics firm IHS (via Gamasutra) said that while Korean games are worth a lot, it’s only because they’re from established companies such as NCSoft, Nexon and EA. South Korea is now the world’s second largest market for online multiplayer PC games thanks to the games library from the aforementioned publishers.

Currently, Korea’s online gaming is worth US$2.83 billion in the region. The market will be worth US$3.5 billion in the next four years, though it will be a slow growth. Nexon’s free-to-play fares such as FIFA Online 3 and Sudden Attack had strong sales, while NCSoft’s old-school MMORPG Lineage saw US$281 million in consumer spending in 2013. The kicker to all this is that Lineage was released back in 1998.

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According to the report, new games released during the past year or so could not break the stranglehold of titles like FIFA Online 3 and Lineage. “With growth being driven from these established games, it is perhaps no surprise that it was relatively suppressed at eight per cent. In contrast the mobile and tablet games market grew over 250 per cent in 2013 and was worth over US$1 billion for the first time.”

It’s great that at least other countries outside of Korea are accepting of newer titles, though it does beg the question on whether smaller outfits can afford to keep a game going for more than five years without being bought out by bigger Asian companies.

Jonathan Toyad

Jonathan Toyad

If you want an elaborate answer on who would win in a fight between Ultraman and Godzilla, Jonathan Toyad is your man. A six-year veteran in the game journalism industry, he did words and videos for outlets such as GameSpot, GameAxis, IGN and Stuff.TV. Fears coyotes and scorched earths.

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