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Q: Korean Games & Mobile ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   8 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Korean Games & Mobile
Category: Computers > Games
Asked by: davidwainwright-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 04 Jul 2002 10:52 PDT
Expires: 03 Aug 2002 10:52 PDT
Question ID: 36550
Why are on-line games so popular in Korea? Some people say it is due
to broadband connectivity but I think they are wrong. Games has driven
the take up of broadband. Europe & the US has not seen anything like
the success of games in Korea. Now mobile games are takign off too.

Can anyone pinpoint what is unique to Korea?
Answer  
Subject: Re: Korean Games & Mobile
Answered By: lot-ga on 04 Jul 2002 19:56 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
 
Hello David Wainwright
.
INTRO
Broadband penetration in Korea is according to Nielsen/NetRatings in
eMarketer 2001 put it around 50% of households, contrasted to Hong
Kong and Canada with 40%, U.S. at 7% and the U.K. at 3%. Page views
per month were also exceptionally high for Korea at 2,164 compared to
678 for the U.S.  and 479 for the U.K.
source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/Your_Business/YB_SegArticle/0,4621,290069,00.html
.
Korea’s incredible broadband figures is due to the fact that the
Government is heavily subsidising the rollout and playing a primary
role.
.
"The importance of the government's role in deployment of broadband
cannot be underestimated," said Jeong Seon Seol, information and
communications counselor at the Korean Embassy.

.
...The Korean government, for instance, has made about $77 million in
loans available to fund private networks since 1998. The Korean
government plans to invest about $926 million by 2005 to help deploy
broadband networks around the country.
.
...High-bandwidth Internet networks are treated as value-added
services in South Korea, and are hence free of most regulations. In
addition, Seol said South Korea has had few copyright disputes since
record companies, recording artists, and other content providers there
are happy to have their works distributed online.
.

That's not the case in the United States, where the movie and
recording industries have been fighting with the consumer electronics
and PC industries over copy protection schemes aimed at preventing
online pirating of new films and music. Some observers said the
copyright disputes have stymied development of compelling
applications, thereby depressing U.S. demand for broadband services.”
.
“Generally speaking, they are well educated and literate. And
technology has been integrated into their culture in many different
ways. Already proficient in text messaging by cell phone, and having
mastered various other technological ways for "keeping in touch,"
participating actively in on-line communities is becoming second
nature.”
.
source: http://216.239.39.100/search?q=cache:SCbQCqfd9xIC:www.eetimes.com/issue/mn/OEG20020523S0041+korean+government+invest+broadband&hl=en&ie=UTF-8
.

The fact that 95% people in Korea who have an internet connection,
access it through a broadband connection
source: http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/SITE/data/html_dir/2001/09/27/200109270007.asp
already puts it on a uneven playing field compared to the U.S. and
Europe.
You can’t feed rich video and audio which is required for an enhanced
gaming experience effectively down a 56k line.
.
SLOW BROADBAND TAKEUP OUTSIDE KOREA
.
As an example, the U.K.’s broadband rollout has been been a slow and
painful one, hampered by cost, and poor marketing. British Telecom.net
slow to upgrade exchanges due to their claim of low demand (to the
bemusement of some who were crying out for broadband but couldn’t get
it), and couldn’t justify upgrading each exchange at 250,000 for only
a few users. ISP’s couldn’t cut prices any further and were working on
very slim margins and still are from BT wholesale.   Many ISPs trying
the strategy to sell cheap to build their customer base. However many
users preferred to stay on their unmetered 56k dial up subscriptions
rather than upgrade... and who would pay extra if the average surfing
time was only 6 hours per month?
source: http://www.eratings.com/news/2002/20020123.htm
.
There is truth in your statement that games (or content) can drive and
fuel the take up of broadband, but in the UK’s case many ISP’s feel
the rollout by British Telecom the wholesale provider, is incompetent,
and couldn’t supply. British Telecom has had it’s share of problems
which have been echoed in their ISP division BT OpenWorld. Content
providers / I SPs such as AOL dare not touch the infant technology in
the early days.
Without broadband in place there can be no rich gaming experience.
.

The roll out of broadband in the U.S, U.K. and the rest of Europe is
speeding up. Especially with more competitive consumer pricing but it
simply cannot compete with the subsidies and backing the Korean
government are giving it’s roll out. Despite prices being cheaper in
the U.S. and the U.K. The far east has the competition licked, e.g. in
Hong Kong the cost of a 1.5Mbit line is the same price as a UK 512k
line.
.

KOREA’S ONLINE GAMING BOOST 1
.
Starting early helps, and they had the Korean equivalent to ‘internet
cafes’ called ‘PC-bangs’ “ regarded as the most comfortable place for
using the Internet. ”
.
In 1998 there were 3,600 PC-Bangs, in August 1999 it jumped to 12,050,
and in May 2000 it was estimated to be around 17,000
.
These PC-Bangs are almost on every corner and usage is around 1,000
won per hour with free usage for certain registered ISP subscribers.
People normally use the facilities in groups and play online in teams.
Group usage is also being diversified to Internet surfing, chatting,
online stock trading, e-learning. Korea’s network team play is
contrasted to western mindsets where generally people like to play
individually. http://www.nhk.or.jp/asia/english/pgms2001/0415.html
gives a flavour perhaps of the frenzied activity, and the fever that
multiplied the PC-bangs
.
KOREA’S ONLINE GAMING BOOST 2
.
Not only have the Korean government used public money to help pay for
the broadband infrastructure, it’s also shelled out on the online
gaming industry.
.
“The Korean government has earmarked an additional $14 million in
support of the nation's growing Internet gaming industry, its latest
direct investment in Korea's online development.
.
Korea's Ministry of Information and Communication, which is known for
its catalytic role in the country's rapid broadband penetration and
its regional advocacy of code division multiple access (CDMA) mobile
phone technologies, said it would help fund and support the online
game industry.
.
Even at this early stage, Korea is already among the top developers of
online games, software and services globally.
.

The ministry said it has earmarked $11 million toward the further
development of Net gaming technologies, including 3-D game engines.
.

A further $3 million will support the training of online game
specialists, a project to combat online game addiction and industry
regulatory support.
.

"The ministry is seeking to develop the game industry as one of the
nation's top strategic industries," it said in a statement.
.

In a survey early last year, Internet measurement company NetValue
said 65 percent of all Korean Internet users surveyed visited Net game
Web sites during one month.
.

A study later in 2001 by Ipsos-Reid predicted that by this year eight
in 10 Internet users 12 to 24 years old in South Korea will have tried
online games at least once.”
.

Adam Creed, Newsbytes SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, 29 Apr 2002, 5:49 AM CST
.
 
source: http://216.239.39.100/search?q=cache:Ric9ZtPFKaAC:www.newsbytes.com/news/02/176182.html+korean+online+gaming+penetration&hl=en&ie=UTF-8
.
ONLINE GAMING MODEL AND STRONG KOREAN DEMAND
.
“Generally speaking, in the U.S., the software packages for MMOGs are
purchased from retailers for $30 to $70 USD. The player then also pays
a monthly subscription fee of $10 to $20 USD to play online. In Korea,
however, the game software is free as a download or on CD-Rom. Then,
players must either have a personal subscription for approximately $20
to $30 USD a month, or pay to play at one of the nearly 20,000
Internet cafes found in Korea.
.


While the U.S. market counts on the retail sales of the game software
to cover the initial cost of development and the monthly fees to cover
operational expenses, the Korean online gaming revenue, according to
the report, encourages mainstream adoption by lowering initial
barriers and costs. Online games are available to a wide audience at a
low price then, once hooked, players spend heavily on the games and
broadband accounts. Lineage, the most popular game in Korea has around
3 million subscribers out of a population of 47 million.
.
The remarkable success of the Korean online gaming market apparently
has Sony Online Entertainment, maker of EverQuest, ready to join the
party. In January, Sony announced a deal with NCSoft to have NCsoft
run EverQuest servers and handle customer support for Korean gamers.
Similarly, last August, EA.com announced the launching of Ultima
Online "into the explosive Korean Internet Gaming Room (IGR) market in
autumn 2001".
.
source: http://www.gignews.com/koreanonline.htm Feb 2002 GIGnews.com

NCsoft, runs the biggest online game in the world...
“Lineage, the company's medieval role-playing game, has more than 4
million subscribers who pay an average monthly subscription fee of
almost $25 to participate in "blood pledge" clans that besiege virtual
castles and slay digital dragons. ...
The vast majority of those subscribers are in NCsoft's home base of
Korea”
.
“Garriott (of NCsoft) recently talked with ZDNet about the challenges
posed by online gaming and NC's position in the industry. ...
.
Q: What made Lineage such a phenomenon in Korea? 
.

A: There are obviously a number of factors in Asia. The early reason
is that Lineage was released in 1998, and that's the same time that
the game room phenomenon was taking off in Korea. (Game rooms are
Internet cafe-type shops where game players congregate.) At that time,
they did not have a reason for people to come in and utilize the
computers. It was also a time when Korea was going through a severe
recession, so people had a lot of time on their hands....
.
And that prompted people to start playing the game at home? 

Exactly. If you look at our business two years ago, it was virtually
100 percent game-room business. Now, game rooms represent about 50
percent of our business, and the other half is home users. People
initially got hooked in the game rooms, and then they started buying
PCs and connecting them at home.
.
How important has broadband penetration been for the growth of
Lineage?

It has been extremely important to our business, and that's because of
our business model, which is very different from something like Sony's
EverQuest. Those business models include buying a box with the game CD
and then paying a fee to play online.
.

Because we grew up through the game rooms, we came out with a
different model. We've always given away our client for free, and we
do regular upgrades and improvements to the game. The initial client
is now about 400 megabytes, and every two or three months, we come out
with a new episode that might require downloading another 100
megabytes. Doing that over a 56K modem is going to be extremely
painful.

.
Sounds like you have multiple challenges in the United States, then,
given our low broadband penetration and the minor role of game rooms
here.
.

We do view the US as a challenge. Korea is the No. 1 country in the
world for online gaming, and for that to spill over into the United
States, it will take a continuous rollout of broadband. I think
everyone's been disappointed with how slowly broadband has taken off
in the United States. Once the infrastructure is in place, the
question becomes what games are appropriate in different markets.
.
Are you adjusting the US version of the game in that regard? 
.

There are a number of things we have been doing to readjust the game
here. One of the most critical issues is that in Korea...you've got a
lot of very experienced players. The game design issues there are how
do you keep experienced players happy? In the US, it's how can we keep
newbie players happy? How can we make sure they have fun right off the
bat?
.

We've developed a newbie zone where they can be safe and protected
until they work up to Level 10. We've redone the graphics; it used to
be that the older parts of the game had all the latest graphics, and
the initial zones looked pretty basic, which doesn't help get new
players excited.
.

There's no question tastes are different in Korea. People play in a
very team-oriented way there, partly because the phenomenon really
started in game rooms, where it's very simple to form friendships that
carry over into the game...People here are not as used to getting
together and teaming up as they are in Korea; they like to play solo
more.
.
source: http://www.zdnet.com.au/newstech/enterprise/story/0,2000025001,20266219,00.htm
By David Becker, Special to ZDNet 26 June 2002 ZDNet Australia

.
“Across the region, (Asia) the number of unique visitors to game sites
is high, but actual usage of games applications is relatively low. The
only exception is Korea: out of the 6,805,540 users who visited a
games website, 5,334,000 (or approximately 80%) of these users
actually played games over the Internet, either via a game application
or directly through the site (Figure 2a & Figure 2b). The actual
number of users playing games is much lower in the remaining markets.
In Taiwan, 582,000 users play online games while China, Hong Kong and
Singapore report less than 100,000 online gamers each.
.

Clayton Fitts, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, comments on the
Korea phenomenon; "In Korea, we have seen a link between broadband
access and gaming. From our previous reports, we found that over half
of the Korean population is connected to the Internet via broadband
access, either through ADSL or cable connection. Within this broadband
user group, 70 percent play games via the Internet; among
non-broadband users, this figure drops substantially to 38 percent.
Online gaming is very popular with broadband access because it gives
users instant gratification - images are refreshed faster and more
players can interact simultaneously." “

.
KOREAN ONLINE GAMERS PROFILE
.
“Overall, online gamers in Asia tend to be male, 24 years of age or
under and predominantly students (Figure 4). Korea is the exception
where online gamers are almost equally represented by males (55.3%)
and females (44.7%).
.

The most significant difference in the profiles of online gamers in
Asia relates to the users' connection year. In Taiwan and Korea, a
high proportion of users who played games online were late adopters.
Specifically, 42.1% of Korean and 31.5% of Taiwanese online gamers
first connected to the Internet in year 2000. In the other markets
surveyed, the majority of online gamers had connected to the Internet
prior to 1997.
.
Commenting on these findings, Mr. Fitts said, "Korea has developed
very quickly and while much of its Internet population is still very
'young' [consisting of mainly late adopters], they are showing very
advanced usage behaviour such as playing online games. This is
evidence that broadband speeds up the e-learning curve for Internet
users. The popularity of the games sector in Asia has shown strong
signs of growth over the past few months - Korea is clearly leading
the way with Taiwan and Hong Kong building up steadily. " “
.
The most visited games websites in Korea (January 2001)
hangame.com	 2,868,190 unique visitors
x2game.com	 2,805,500 unique visitors
mgame.com	   941,440 unique visitors
nexon.co.kr	   691,930 unique visitors
egames.co.kr	   592,990 unique visitors
source: http://www.gate4korea.com/report/report_i_market.htm
.
Jun 20 2002: Around 18.5 million Internet users in Korea went online
in April, according to NetValue.
.
	
Notably the graphical style of most of the above sites was ‘cute’ 
'mario t ype' characters, heavily influenced by Japanese cute manga or
Hello Kitty and Sailor moon cartoons. This style of design appeals to
teenagers and young adults up to 30 year olds and beyond in the Asia
region but does not appeal generally speaking to western adults. So
clearly there is a different mindset here in Korea and Asia.
The other notable difference is almost half of the gamers are female.
.

source: http://kr.netvalue.com/presse_hk/index_frame.htm?fichier=cp0017.htm
March 20, 2001 NetValue Asia 
.

KOREAN CULTURE TO BE A TEAM AND BE THE SAME.
.
“G eert Hofstede wrote an article describing the cultures of fifty
different countries that was published in The International Journal of
Intercultural Relations in 1986. He looked at the cultures of these
fifty countries and characterised them along four different
dimensions. One dimension was the tendency toward what Hofstede called
"collectivism" or "individualism." Collectivist cultures are those
where the focus of the people is on the group rather than the
individual. Individualist cultures are those where the focus is on the
individual rather than the group.
.

South Korea ranked low on individualism. South Korea was rated at
about 18 on a scale of 12 to 91 on individualism whereas the U.S.A.
rated 91 which was the highest possible score. Hofstede characterised
cultures of countries like South Korea as having low individualism and
high collectivism, and cultures of countries like the U.S.A. as having
high individualism and low collectivism. Other countries with high
individualism scores like the U.S.A. were Australia and Great Britain.
......I didn't understand why the Korean people seemed, in general, so
reticent and unwilling to stand out as individuals when compared to
Americans.”
source: http://www.hongik.ac.kr/~tidings/no_102/102-15.html

.
This Korean collectivism culture also binds groups together, if one
person does, the rest follow, like a group of sheep, or school of
fish. Consequently trends sweep through the Asia Pacific countries
like Korea, (as with Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan) like wild fire.
People want to belong to the same group, be the same, and follow the
same fashions. Westerners tend to be more individual and want to stand
out. Conformity, uniform and regulation are all restrictions to
liberty. Koreans just follow and never question the logic. This
mentality may have assisted the adoption of Korea’s broadband and the
popularity of online team gaming.
.

MOBILE GAMING
.
“Mobile gaming is already a hit in Asia -- bringing in an estimated
$827 million revenues in 2001, compared to $20 million in the United
States, according to market researcher Datamonitor.” source:
http://216.239.39.100/search?q=cache:APSgUyflglwC:www.cnn.com/2002/TECH/ptech/06/01/cell.games.ap/+mobile+phone+gaming+korea&hl=en&ie=UTF-8
.
The graphics capabilities of mobile phone displays lack a lot of the
sophistication a computer monitor can offer. The take up of such
mobile gaming will depend on the reception of compromised graphics
especially if a game is ported from a PC.
Westerners are by definition more analytical, individual in mindset,
and can chose not to take on board mobile gaming on the same scale as
Korea,  dismissing it as they did tamagotchi (a simple hand held SIM
game with graphics not much better than a Donkey Kong junior handheld
of the early 1980’s).
.
Asian countries loved the tamagotchi, the concept won the day, over
simple graphics. Koreans are perhaps more receptive to a good game
idea, and more forgiving of simple mobile graphics (like tamagotchi).
One person adopts it and so the rest of the market follows, to extend
their networked group, interact and play as a team rather than an
individual.
.
“The study by United Kingdom-based Datamonitor predicted growth at 30
per cent a year between 2001, when revenues reached 827 million U.S.
dollars, until 2006.
.

China is expected to account for 41 per cent of the players, followed
by Japan with 37.4 per cent and South Korea with 10 per cent, it said.
(This market research puts South Korea at only 10 per cent, and not,
one of the projected major players, China is expected to account for
the largest share.)
.

Revenues are predicted to reach 100 million U.S. dollars in Singapore
by 2006 from 3 million last year, said the study published in The
Business Times. “
.

source: http://www.thefeature.com/index.jsp?url=article.jsp?pageid=15338
By Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) , Jul 04 2002

.


SUMMARY
.
Online games so popular in Korea because
1. Government funded broadband rollout provides the bandwidth
required.
2. 95% broadband penetration of internet users
3. pre-broadband developed online gaming culture from PC-Bangs
4. Koreans mindset to network and play as a team rather than an
individual
5. Online gaming funding also provided by government
6. Almost half of online gamers are females (which may stimulate
opposite sex chat)
7. Koreans spend more time online
8. Koreans projected mobile gaming usage not as high as expected
(according to current statistics)
.

search strategy:
.
korean, broadband, penetration
://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=korean+broadband+penetration
korean, online, gaming, penetration
://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&newwindow=1&safe=off&q=korean+online+gaming+penetration&btnG=Google+Search
korean, online, gaming, growth
://www.google.com/search?q=korean+online+gaming+growth&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&newwindow=1&safe=off&start=10&sa=N
PC, bang, korea
://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&newwindow=1&safe=off&q=PC+bang+korea+1999
korean, teenage, pastimes
://www.google.com/search?q=korean+teenage+pastimes&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&newwindow=1&safe=off&start=0&sa=N
koreans, online
://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&newwindow=1&safe=off&q=koreans+online
korean, PC, bangs
://www.google.com/search?q=korean+PC+bangs&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&newwindow=1&safe=off&start=0&sa=N
mobile, gaming, korea
://www.google.com/search?q=mobile+gaming+korea&btnG=Googol+Search&hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&newwindow=1&safe=off

.

I hope that helps,
.

if you need clarification please do not hesitate to ask.
kind regards
lot-ga

Request for Answer Clarification by davidwainwright-ga on 05 Jul 2002 05:09 PDT
Excellent ! I have a few follow up points

Broadband homes

how many
percentage of all homes
growth rate
price paid
trends in prices
bandwidth delivered
why is Korea so different?
Is it delivered through ISPs or through telco?
Who else makes money? Content providers? E commerce? Advertisements
sales?
Overall, is broadband a financial success for its providers? Why
different?

Broadband content

Games. How many players? All young males? Or are there games for other
demographics? How many play each day/each week/ each month? Is there
something specifically Korean about the games?
What can we learn about online gaming from Korea? What will need to be
changed in UK/EU?
How much do people pay to play? Is it all monthly subscription? Have
any other models been tried? Are prizes available? Is it ever linked
to gambling?

Do these games need broadband? Will they act as a stimulus to
broadband here? Did games or broadband come first in Korea?

What other broadband content works? Is pornography important?

Is broadband used for education to any significant extent? Is it paid
for? Does the government subsidise it at all? Is there a working
revenue model for education?

What about video downloads? Is this happening to any significant
extent? Or music? Is this all pirate? Or are there working models for
legitimate purchase of content?


Picture phones

How many picture phones subscribers now in Korea? How much are the
handsets? (The price of the cheapest one on the market and an
approximate range would be useful). Which handset manufacturers appear
to be doing well? Why?
How much does it cost to send a picture? How many pictures does the
average users send every month?
What are the demographics of picture phone use? Is it primarily young
females? What sort of pictures do they send?
What do you think of the quality? Is it variable, or is it always OK?
What lessons should European operators learn from the Korean
experience? Price? Handset cost? Marketing? Target demographics?
What about video phones? Is this happening yet? Do they work
effectively?


Interactive TV

What is happening in this area? Is it all games and quizzes, or is
there something more sophisticated?

Clarification of Answer by lot-ga on 05 Jul 2002 12:49 PDT
Hello David,
.
Most of your additional points have been clarified, however some e.g.
picture mobile messaging statistical information, appears to be
unavailable. But I hope what responses there are, helps.
Kind regards,
lot-ga
.

Broadband homes 
 
how many
> 14,911,579 households @50% = 7,455,789 (april 2000)
http://www.gate4korea.com/report/report_korea_i_user.htm
.

percentage of all homes
> 50% Nielsen/NetRatings;eMarketer, 2001 
http://www.entrepreneur.com/Your_Business/YB_SegArticle/0,4621,290069,00.html

.

growth rate
> According to MIC, the number of broadband Internet subscribers
increased by 50 folds to 1.125622 million households (May 24, 2000)
from 52,378 six months ago. In addition, there are 740,000 subscribers
waiting to have high-speed Internet installed.

.
price paid
> Over 2Mbps Internet access offered at an average fixed line service
charge of 30,000~50,000 won per month.
> Monthly subscription fees for ADSL amount to $22 on average for
residential use and $29.62 for business use, while cable modem by
Thrunet costs $29.62 and $26.5, respectively, for Hanaro Telecom. The
total fee including modem rental is approximately $25 for residential
ADSL and $32.35 for business ADSL and cable modem
http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/SITE/data/html_dir/2002/06/24/200206240050.asp
old 2000 pricing matrix data on selected countries
http://www.vandusseldorp.com/vdapinthepress/eMarketer%2027%20Feb%202001.htm
 
.

trends in prices
> Distribution of free and low-end PC s.
> Increasingly, PC on-line communication service is provided free of
charge to broadband Internet subscribers or LAN users.

.


bandwidth delivered
> over 2Mbps 
.

why is Korea so different? 
Is it delivered through ISPs or through telco? 
> ISP
http://www.isp-planet.com/research/rankings/s.korea_june_2002.html
.

Who else makes money? Content providers? E commerce? Advertisements
sales?
> advertising market in 2000 was 54,000,000,000 won, which grew almost
250% from the 1999 figure. The webcasting market grew from 120
providers in july 1999 to 200 in december 1999, the volume of online
stock trading accounted for 37.0 percent and 69.0 percent of the total
stock transaction in November 1999, and June 2000, respectively
http://www.gate4korea.com/report/report_i_market.htm
.

Overall, is broadband a financial success for its providers?
It appears so, but no information to back it 

Why different?
No information
.
 


Broadband content 
 
Games. 
How many players? 
>13,212 in 2002
http://www.gate4korea.com/report/report_i_market.htm
.

All young males?
>No, online gamers are almost equally represented by males (55.3%) and
females (44.7%)
http://kr.netvalue.com/presse_hk/index_frame.htm?fichier=cp0017.htm
.

Or are there games for otherdemographics? 
> No breakdown on other game demographics found
.
How many play each day/each week/ each month?
>gaming accounts for 19.9% of net access(2002.3)
http://www.gate4korea.com/report/report_i_study2001.htm 
.

Is there something specifically Korean about the games?
>team play? Free of charge downloads / CD, western games popular like
Lineage so Korean influence not always neccessary.
For your reference
The most visited games websites in Korea (January 2001) 
http://www.hangame.com 2,868,190 unique visitors 
http://www.x2game.com 2,805,500 unique visitors 
http://www.mgame.com 941,440 unique visitors 
http://www.nexon.co.kr 691,930 unique visitors 
http://www.egames.co.kr 592,990 unique visitors
.

What can we learn about online gaming from Korea? 
> Government aids both broadband and online gaming industry, they have
2Mps plus bandwidth, teamplay, and sex distribution is almost 50:50
.

What will need to be changed in UK/EU?
> fully deploy broadband access, increase base speed to at least
1Mbit,
make games appeal to the female internet population
.

How much do people pay to play? 
>approximately $20 to $30 USD a month
http://www.gignews.com/koreanonline.htm
.

Is it all monthly subscription?
> Mainly, no information found to prove otherwise
.

Have any other models been tried? 
> No information found to prove otherwise
.

Are prizes available?
> Yes prizes and money, some are professional
http://www.nhk.or.jp/asia/english/pgms2001/0415.html
. 

Is it ever linked to gambling?
> There is gambling online
.
 
Do these games need broadband?
>Evidence suggests that broadband is needed for the full experience
. 

Will they act as a stimulus to broadband here?
> Yes, maybe, no direct evidence in Korea but in Hong Kong Sony are
forging relationships with broadband suppliers
.

Did games or broadband come first in Korea?
> Gaming in PC-bang internet centres came first, then residential
broadband allowed people to ‘take it home’ with them. Korea grew up
with games rooms.
.
 
What other broadband content works? 
> Search accounts for 58.1% of access, recreation/game 19.9%, email
14.8%, study 3.1%, chatting 1.5%, money transaction/inquiry 1.3%,
shopping 1.1%
http://www.gate4korea.com/report/report_i_study2001.htm
73.9% of Korean internet population had used audio or video in
February 2001
.
http://kr.netvalue.com/presse_hk/index_frame.htm?fichier=cp0022.htm
Is pornography important? 
> “...a four-country report by NetValue shows. Some 10.7 million South
Koreans headed to adult sites in March, a hefty 72 percent jump from
the year before”
http://latelinenews.com/ll/english/1208601.shtml
.

Is broadband used for education to any significant extent? 
> Some distance learning is being trialled
http://aped.snu.ac.kr/cyberedu/cyberedu1/eng/eng28-02.html
otherwise no evidence of online distance learning from the
government site
http://www.korea.net/directory/List.asp?category_id=l0
.

Is it paid for?
> No information 
.

Does the government subsidise it at all? 
> No information
.

Is there a working revenue model for education?
.
 
What about video downloads?
> 73.9% of Korean internet population had used audio or video in
February 2001
http://kr.netvalue.com/presse_hk/index_frame.htm?fichier=cp0022.htm
.
 

Is this happening to any significant extent? Or music? 
> appears to be, but no statistical information to back it
.

Is this all pirate? 
> Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan have
piracy levels between 10 to 25 percent. Reuters May 16, 2001 PDT
http://www.wired.com/news/mp3/0,1285,43836,00.html

.

Or are there working models for legitimate purchase of content?
> http://www.fasoo.com/
http://www.fasoo.com/english/news/news_list_detail.asp?num=16
.
 
 
Picture phones 
 
How many picture phones subscribers now in Korea? 
> No information found, but 14 million of 26 million mobile phone
subscribers also subscribe to wireless internet services
http://kn.koreaherald.co.kr/SITE/data/html_dir/2001/01/13/200101130031.asp
.

How much are the handsets? 
(The price of the cheapest one on the market and an approximate range
would be useful).



Which handset manufacturers appear to be doing well?
> Samsung, LG Elec
.

Why?  
> Samsung SK Telecom partner
http://www.kddi.com/english/release/2002/0528/ 
LG Elec KT corp partner, 
http://asia.news.yahoo.com/020531/reuters/nseo126634.html
and innovative
(Networks: SK Telecom wth 53.30% no. 1 market share, and KTF at 32.80%
share
number 2 (2002.07.04)
http://www.koreaherald.com/SITE/data/html_dir/2002/07/04/200207040011.asp
.

How much does it cost to send a picture? 
> No information found
.

How many pictures does the average users send every month?
> No information found

What are the demographics of picture phone use?
> No information found 
.

Is it primarily young females?
> No information found 
.

What sort of pictures do they send?
> No information found
.

What do you think of the quality? 
> No information found
.

Is it variable, or is it always OK? 
> No information found
.

What lessons should European operators learn from the Korean
experience?
> according to Light Surf California ( http://www.lightsurf.com/ ) 
"In our view, the reason photo messaging hasn't taken off in Europe
and North America is due to the lack of availability of large-screen,
color handsets. We think it will launch late this year, and be huge
next year," predicts Robin Nijor, vice president of Marketing at
LightSurf. "We've demonstrated the ability to share high-quality VGA
color photos in less than 60 seconds over today's 2G and 2.5G networks
in North America. LightSurf has a lot of expertise in optimal image
delivery. Of course, with 3G networks, we'll be able to do everything
much faster. But, we never looked at 3G verses 2G as the reason photo
messaging hasn't taken off. It's due to the lackluster user experience
on today's devices - typical monochrome handsets don't provide what's
needed."
http://www.lightsurf.com/news/articles/pmanews0502302.html
.
Price? 
> per byte from around 2p per byte 

Handset cost? 
> 180 + camera 130
http://www2.carphonewarehouse.com/NASApp/commerce/gben-latestproducts-Details?latestProduct=LATT68I
http://www2.carphonewarehouse.com/NASApp/commerce/gben-latestproducts-Details?latestProduct=COMMCAM
.

Marketing? 
> No information on Korea
.

Target demographics?
> No information on Korea
.

What about video phones?
> Video mobile phones, yes 

Is this happening yet? 
> 31st May, 2002

Gemplus and KT ICOM announced they will be providing W-CDMA trial
services during the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan including video
phone and video-on-demand capabilities. Hundreds of people including
World Cup Officials will trial these introductory services at the
World Cup Plaza located in five major stadiums and downtown Seoul and
Busan during the World Cup period.

Customers will be able to make standard voice calls as well as
videophone calls, while benefiting from new multimedia-based services
such as video-on-demand by watching games and recalling football
scores via KT ICOM handsets.

Do they work effectively?
No negative feedback found.
http://www.3g.co.uk/PR/May2002/3480.htm
 
 
Interactive TV 

 
What is happening in this area? 
> “The SK Group, one of the largest conglomerates in Korea, is
striving to bring IP Television to Korea. An important aspect of
Korea’s infrastructure is the abundance of bandwidth and comparative
lack of video services like cable, broadcast or satellite television.
For SK, this fortunate combination spells opportunity. With the
availability of fiber weaving its way throughout many of the multiple
dwelling units (MDUs) in Korea and the accessibility of that bandwidth
to it’s residents, SK is uniquely positioned to create a superior
video service for virtually every home throughout the country”
(TV over DSL)
http://www.minervanetworks.com/iptelevision/casestudies.htm
.

Is it all games and quizzes, or is there something more sophisticated?
> seems to be little activity, no information
davidwainwright-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Excellent infoprmation.
I will do some research and report back. What I am trying to find out
is whether Europe and the US will ever match the success of Korea for
online games. The Korean government has created an impressive industry
that is now the envy of thw world. Can this ever be reproduced or was
the success unique to the culture of Korea? That mystery remains
unanswered. I plan to visit Korea next week and continue the research
by asking the "man on the street".

Thanks again.

Comments  
Subject: Re: Korean Games & Mobile
From: thx1138-ga on 05 Jul 2002 14:47 PDT
 
Outstanding research lot-ga, very comprehensive and complete!
Well done!
THX1138
Subject: Re: Korean Games & Mobile
From: blader-ga on 05 Jul 2002 18:01 PDT
 
That was an impressive work. Much kudos, lot.
Subject: Re: Korean Games & Mobile
From: knowledge_seeker-ga on 05 Jul 2002 18:14 PDT
 
Wow! You've above and beyond the call of duty here lot! Way above. 

Please feel free to join the Researcher Forum to get help and support
from other researchers. The link is in your last 2 newsletters.  -K~
Subject: Re: Korean Games & Mobile
From: davidwainwright-ga on 22 Jul 2002 12:11 PDT
 
I have just returned from Korea. The answers lies in

1. Console games until recently were banned as they came from Japan
2. Koreans like to socialise. The PC Rooms has mad online gaming a social habit
3. The comic culture is big
4. It has reached mass market
5. The Government invested heavily in the space
Subject: Re: Korean Games & Mobile
From: lot-ga on 22 Jul 2002 16:57 PDT
 
Hello David,

Hope you had a nice trip.
Interesting, why the Koreans banned console games. (There is a similar
situation in Hong Kong where the latest generation games consoles are
unavailable officially, probably due to pirate software, unofficial
Japanese import machines are popular there.

Comic culture has always been quite big in the far east, influenced by
Japan I guess.

Still not much user stats on the picture messaging, even on Japan's
'J-PHONE' Sha Mail (picture) service.

According to the a Nua report from the U.S. PC World
"The number of people interested in wireless Internet has fallen by 17
percent over the last year"
http://www.nua.com/surveys/?f=VS&art_id=905358194&rel=true
Yet the Japanese market has jumped!
"The table above reveals that, except for July 2001, the net increase
of Sha-mail users exceeds that of J-sky subscribers. It proves that
many new subscribers joined J-PHONE to utilize the Sha-mail service.
It also indicates that existing J-sky subscribers are trading their
J-sky terminal equipment without Sha-mail for equipment with the
Sha-mail function."
Mobile Phone Market Changed by Remarkable Success of Sha-Mail by
Hajime Yamada 25 April 2002
http://www.glocom.org/tech_reviews/jt_review/20020410_s38/

regards lot-ga
Subject: Re: Korean Games & Mobile
From: davidwainwright-ga on 24 Jul 2002 05:19 PDT
 
Interesting. Asian and technology is truly fascinating. If only we had
those numbers in Europe.
Is is ever possible for me to contact you via email or is that banned
by Google answers. I work on a number of consultancy projects and
would like to pay researchers to write reports but not make the
results public.

Is this possible? I understand google sees this a way of getting
content.

Maybe I should post a new question. Where can I find a researcher!
Subject: Re: Korean Games & Mobile
From: banchan-ga on 11 Oct 2002 15:31 PDT
 
just thought that the recent death of the korean gamer would be of
interest.  :)



 Ananova: 
South Korean man dies after indulging in computer games

A 24-year-old South Korean man has died after playing computer games
non-stop for 86 hours.

The jobless man, identified by police only by his last name Kim, was
found dead at an internet cafe in Kwangju, 160 miles south-west of
Seoul.

Police claim the man had been glued to the computer since late Friday
and had not eaten or slept since.

He collapsed in front of the counter desk early on Tuesday but soon
regained his consciousness. He then went to the toilet where he later
was found dead.

Initial investigations ruled out the possibility of murder, police
said.

Story filed: 09:05 Wednesday 9th October 2002


then there is the nyt article on pc bang:

October 9, 2002
South Korea's Real Rage for Virtual Games
By HOWARD W. FRENCH

PUSAN, South Korea, Oct. 3 — Throughout the year they have been
dating, Jang Min Ji and Jung Tae Kyun have met almost every afternoon
at online video game clubs, where they while away the hours zapping
bad guys, dodging flame-breathing monsters or playing cards against
anonymous strangers.

The action is so fast and furious at the RA PC Zone, their favorite
meeting spot among the thousands of game rooms here, that they have
almost no time to talk. Ensconced side by side in their gamers'
loveseats, the college couple murmur and coo mostly news of their
latest electronic triumphs and defeats, their words barely audible
over the hail of gunfire, the grunts and screams of combatants and
generalized whirring and clanging.

Only when they finally emerge from the pall of smoke and cathode ray
blues and reds of the club lights will they finally chat. So what do
they talk about? "Mostly about games," said Ms. Jang, a slightly
guilty smile playing on her face as her puppy, Urami, strained in her
lap, where it had spent the afternoon in confinement. Mr. Jung never
broke his gaze on the screen.

With the largest high-speed Internet market penetration in the world,
South Korea has seen the broadband future that has stalled in so many
other places.

More than half of all Korean households have high-speed Internet
connections — compared with fewer than 10 percent in the United States
— and the exploding Web culture has driven economic growth and spawned
civic movements that have powerfully affected everything from politics
to consumer culture.

But more and more these days, people are emphasizing a darker side to
this technological success story.

Broadband's killer application — the one activity that dwarfs all
others — is online gaming, which 80 percent of South Koreans under 25
play, according to one recent study. Critics say the burgeoning
industry is creating millions of zombified addicts who are turning on
and tuning into computer games, and dropping out of school and
traditional group activities, becoming uncommunicative and even
violent because of the electronic games they play.

"Game players don't have normal social relationships anymore," said
Kim Hyun Soo, a 36-year-old psychiatrist who is chairman of the Net
Addiction Treatment Center, one of many groups that have sprung up to
cope with Internet game addiction. "Young people are losing the
ability to relate to others, except through games. People who become
addicted are prone to violence, even when they are not playing.

"They clash in the games, and then they meet later and fight face to
face."

Far more than the United States, South Korea is a group-oriented
society, where socializing in bunches is the preferred form of
interaction, and Western-style individualism is frowned upon. Critics
say this has been the secret to the tidal wave of online gaming, and
the psychiatrist says it is the key to understanding its profound
impact.

"Very few of our customers come alone," said Kim Gi Beum, the
29-year-old owner of the RA PC Zone, reputedly the largest of Pusan's
thousands of game rooms, or PC bangs, as they are known here. "Of
course they could play at home, but it is more exciting to be
surrounded by other gamers, especially if they are your friends."

Mr. Kim started his business three years ago, during the the fallout
from the Asian economic crisis, with a $50,000 investment. He had
worked a variety of jobs through college to save money for this dream.
Now, he said, he pulls 1,200 players a day into this shop, where
gamers pay $10 an hour to beat online strangers and wipe out aliens.
With similar numbers of players flocking to the other 13 PC bangs in
his expanding empire, nowadays he is plowing his profits into trying
to start his own online game, which he has evocatively named History
of Chaos.

"What feeds our business is that most parents don't allow their
children to do PC gaming at home — they are supposed to be studying,"
Mr. Kim said briskly. "So what lots of kids will do is pop in after
school and spend three or four hours playing. If their parents ask,
they'll tell them they were somewhere else."

Sure enough, sitting at row after row of computer screens were dozens
of school-age boys, their mouths agape, their desktops cluttered with
cellphones, greasy fast-food snacks and bucket-sized sodas. As they
teamed up, using separate consoles to take on the forces of evil in
popular shoot-em games like Strike Force, Starcraft and Mu, some of
them could be said to be engaging in group activity, but just barely.
Utterances like "quick, shoot!," or "look out," or especially,
"attack!" seemed about the extent of it.

The young women who came to the club with their girlfriends seemed
every bit as locked into a parallel universe as the young men, albeit
an entirely different universe. Although there is no enforced gender
separation at the PC bangs, girls who were not on dates tended to
gravitate toward the banks of computers equipped with small cameras
atop the monitors.

For hours, many of them practiced shooting pictures of themselves in
playful, smiley poses, composing them with flowers and slogans and
clip art and sending them off as digital postcards to real, imagined
or would-be friends.

Although there was little sign of it on this day, some parents' groups
have complained that the PC bangs are turning into pickup joints,
where teenagers swap pictures electronically and decide whether or not
to meet. Reversing the usual pattern in a male-dominated society, the
girls are reportedly in charge in this game, tipping desired suitors
as to the club and even the seat where they can be found.

Rather than communing, meanwhile, many of those who have arrived on
dates have devised ways of setting up invisible walls.

Back Myung Hee, a 24-year-old insurance company employee, appeared to
be perfectly alone as she browsed through catalogs online, looking at
fall outfits and makeup, which she insisted was cheaper and more
convenient than going to the mall.

Asked why she had come alone, she arched her eyebrows and swiveled her
chair nearly 180 degrees and repeated, "Alone? I'm with him," pointing
to a man in the next chair who was close to oblivious, so locked was
he into his online struggle between good and evil. "I want him to
enjoy himself, so I don't talk when he's gaming."

not that any body is still following this story, but i thought i would
add this.
Subject: Re: Korean Games & Mobile
From: lot-ga on 11 Oct 2002 16:34 PDT
 
86 hours? amazing.
I think playing / doing *any* task for 86 hours without sleeping or
eating is trying. If the human body is starved of sleep, it can prove
fatal. In lab tests with rats that were kept awake and deprived of
sleep, they eventually died. I know people who play for about 24 hours
without sleep, but they eat and drink!
regards lot-ga

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