In the beginning, South Korean video game culture was a crazy hybrid of its big brother China and its very rich brother Japan. Though today, Korea has built their own gaming style and have the deepest and longest life of mobile gaming compared to others in Asia. Korea has also created itself as the most internet connected country in the world and with a saturation of well over 100% using mobile phones, it’s a market that needs attention.
As TestBird enters G-Star, Let’s look at a brief summary of the Korean mobile gaming industry today and the companies that are involved. Let’s start with the facts:
In NewZoo’s latest research:
- Over 25.2 million people are gaming on their mobile phone (about 49% of the South Korea’s total population)
- 55% of gamers will spend money on games, spending about $290 per player per year.
- Estimated $4 billion in revenue for this year, fourth in the world
- But a very low growth rate of 2.6% for the next 3 years
Koreans love their phones and with an estimated 110% penetration rate by Research and Markets, this has huge potential for game companies. With over 20 million using smartphones and having 3G/LTE and Wi-Fi pretty much throughout the country, downloading and playing mobile games on a network seems to be zero issue.
Mobile Companies in Korea
Samsung – As one of South Korea’s greatest companies. In 1995, the company moved themselves from cheaper home electronics into high-end computers, TVs, and mobile phones. The company is now the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile phones.
LG – Formally Goldstar, LG has been the main competitor for Samsung since the early years. It was one of the first companies to grow in the early 20th century in Korea and has gaining growth in the Korean and American markets with their newest phones.
Top Korean Game Companies in Mobile
Nexon – Nexon is one of the biggest internet game companies in Korea with classic online games Ragnarok, Kart Racer, and Maple Story. Though it continues to work with internet games FIFA, Dungeon Fighter Online and others, it is continuing to grow in the mobile market.
NetMarble – They are the kings of mobile currently using Kakao, the leading instant messaging company in Korea, to help advertise their games. Like Nexon, they started as online games and have moved to mobile games. They currently have six games in the top ten grossing games for Android compared to one for Nexon.