Mobile Devices Battle PCs for Gaming Supremacy in South Korea - eMarketer
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Mobile Devices Battle PCs for Gaming Supremacy in South Korea

Platforms locked in combat for players’ attention and spending

March 10, 2017 | Media | Mobile

South Korea’s game-loving consumers can’t get enough of their favorite titles. In fact, research suggests that many like video games so much they divide their time and dollars across multiple gaming platforms.

According to a December 2016 white paper on gaming activity and spending by the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA), these consumers spend the majority of their dollars on two gaming platforms: online games and mobile games.

Game Sales in South Korea, by Category, 2014-2018 (billions of South Korean won and % change)

Online games, which are primarily played on PCs, will lead all gaming categories in South Korea in 2017, with KOCCA estimating total sales of KRW 5.3 trillion ($4.6 billion). Mobile games won’t be far behind, with KOCCA forecasting players in the country will spend KRW 4.2 trillion ($3.6 billion) during the same time period.

Although more money is spent on online games, the percentage of gamers in South Korea who play mobile games is significantly higher.

When investigating the gaming platforms used by gamers in the country, the same KOCCA study found more than 88% played mobile games in 2016—a slight increase from the 86.2% who did so in 2015. By contrast, 56.6% of gamers in South Korea said they played online games in 2016.

Mobile vs. PC/Console Video Game Revenue Share in Select Countries, 2016 (% of total)

This competition between PC- and mobile-based gaming is also evident in 2016 research from Newzoo. When comparing mobile and online PC video game revenue shares in various countries, the company found that spending on the two formats was nearly split in South Korea. PC-based online games accounted for 47% of video game revenues, and mobile games accounted for 48%.

Mobile devices are increasingly the platform of choice for gamers in South Korea. But gaming companies considering where to focus their efforts shouldn’t rule out PC-based platforms. As evidenced by current gaming revenues, there’s still plenty of money (and fun) to go around.

Jeremy Kressmann

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