Monday, August 17, 2015

Korean game developers in the global market

An interesting status report on the game industry appeared today in the Korea Joongang Daily.  It begins by noting that "Korean developers used to dominate the computer game industry, leading with innovative content. But as the market has moved to emphasize mobile games, local developers are having trouble keeping up. Some argue they are too focused on making a quick buck from gamers, rather than developing globally competitive content." The article contains some interesting historical background, noting that the first massive multiplayer online games were developed in Korea in the 1990s, when this country led the world in building nationwide broadband internet networks." However, as noted later in the article, "Last year, the scale of the domestic mobile game market was estimated to be 2.4 trillion won ($2.1 billion), the fourth-largest worldwide. But as the global market expands, Korea’s mobile gaming industry is expected to contract next year. The reason, analysts say, is because Korean mobile games are too conventional, and game developers are too focused on squeezing money from players. One of the most common phrases in Korean game development circles is that a “game starts and ends with experimental spirit.” But while foreign companies are experimenting with new game concepts and the creation of fresh new worlds, Korean developers have been busy trying to find new payment systems and addictive elements to generate revenue. Some blame KakaoTalk, Korea’s most popular mobile messenger application, for the dearth of innovative game developers. KakaoTalk created mobile games with the intention of increasing its users, rather than producing truly original content."
The article also presents some useful data on the current state of the global game market. (click on the graphic to see a full size version.

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