Korean MMO games losing out in China

Local games on the rise

Industry site informs us today that whilst Korean games were once dominant, pioneering the massively-multiplayer genre in China, a new report finds that persistent world titles created in Korea are now beginning to lose ground as the Chinese market booms. The latest Korean IT Industry Promotion Agency newsletter (try saying that after a few sherry's), cites figures suggesting that in 2003 Korean titles made up 68% of all online games in China. This figure had fallen to 38% in 2004, and now stands at a comparatively mediocre 20% in 2005. "I am concerned that many Korean firms are too caught up in illusions of grandeur to clearly understand the situation in China," report writer Chen Hao comments according to Gamasutra's coverage.

Whilst the genre has become incredibly lucrative in China over recent years, it seems to be Chinese-developed titles in the main which are benefiting from surging interest. Locally developed titles accounted for 27% of the market in 2004, a slice worth about 1.24 billion USD annually. On the reason for the massive decline, Hao cited Korean firms' lack of local knowledge and support when exporting MMO games. "Localization in China involves more than translations of products. It involves finding a great partner, an expert administrator, and a talented developer. Critical to the success of the localization is adjusting the game contents to meet the different preferences of each region."

Writer Jin Hua also comments on the state of play in China, noting massive government backing for locally developed games, a massive increase in development capabilities and a market eager to adopt locally made titles. More on China, Korea et al as we get it.

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