Gamasutra reports (free registration required) that the Korean (meaning South Korean) government reports the game market in that country is forecasted to grow to 5 trillion won ($4.2 billion) in 2005.
"Note the sharp growth curve in that country's game industry: the game market grew 13% to 3.4 trillion won in 2002, it is expected to reach 4 trillion won this year, 4.5 trillion in 2004, and 5 trillion the following year... Korean game makers accounted for 1.7 percent of worldwide game market revenues in 2002, but when looking at just at the online game segment, Korean companies carved out a 6.7 percent share."
This is a country the size of Indiana with only 40 million people, most of which live in or right around the capital city. It's their latest cultural phenomenon, and developers and publishers of games, especially online staples like Blizzard's Starcraft and NCSoft's Lineage (soon to be Lineage II) are ready to serve: at one time, 80 percent of the players on Blizzard's free battle.net game connection service were Korean.
Though as the Korea Herald reports (as have several other agencies,) the phenomenon of Internet cybercafes, known as "PC bangs" isn't exactly positive. "Smoke or no smoke, PC-rooms reek of slow death like a nursing home. Rows and rows of gamers sit fixated, bodies slouched and heads askew." This in a country where the "bang" phenomenon is supposedly encouraged by the country's "unusually strong cultural emphasis on friendships and social relationships. ... Plus, if gangsters do come looking for the people who just whipped them in a game, it's a lot better to be caught in a crowded bang with your brothers in arms behind you, than alone at home."
The Korean government, which had been lukewarm on the subject for some time, was forced into action last fall after two young men, one 24 years old and another 27 years old, dropped dead within 10 days of each other, after Internet cafe game binges that lasted longer than 30 hours each.
kekekekekekeke...Posted by j at July 11, 2003 02:19 AM