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Games exports outstrip K-pop 10 times over: report

(Nexon)
(Nexon)

The South Korean game industry propelled the nation’s content exports last year, clocking $6.9 billion, more than 10 times that of the music industry’s $640 million, according to a report released by the Ministry of Culture and Korea Creative Content Agency on Tuesday.

The report noted that the Korean game industry’s exports grew 8.9 percent on-year last year, commanding 67.2 percent of the nation’s total content exports of $10.3 billion and topping 10 other industries.

The Korean music industry, despite the popularity of K-pop, ranked fourth accounting for 6.2 percent of total content exports.

“In terms of content, K-pop and movies take the spotlight, but on a closer look, it’s games that are driving Korea’s content exports,” said Wi Jung-hyun, a professor of business administration at Chung-Ang University and head of the Korea Game Society.

“Though COVID-19 took a toll on almost every industry here, the game industry has been resilient, witnessing growth in its revenue and employment.”

The game industry was followed by the character and information industries, which exported $820 million and $660 million of contents, accounting for 7.9 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively.

Korean game makers have made significant strides in foreign markets, with NCSoft’s MMORPG game Lineage M standing as the most profitable game in Taiwan’s Google Play Store by revenue as of Wednesday, standing firm even though it was launched there more than two years ago in December 2017.

Nexon’s mobile racing game KartRider Rush+, since its launch on May 12, garnered 13 million users worldwide with daily users peaking as high as 3.5 million users.

Netmarble’s mobile role-playing game The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross has tasted global success since its launch on March 4, as it stands as the most profitable game in Hong Kong’s App Store by revenue as of Wednesday.

By revenue, the Korean game industry ranked fifth by generating 15 trillion won ($1.2 billion) last year, taking up 12 percent of the nation’s total content revenue of 125.4 trillion won. The Korean music industry ranked seventh, earning 6.6 trillion won, accounting for 5.3 percent of Korea’s total content revenue.

Publishing was the most profitable industry, making 21.1 trillion won, responsible for 16.8 percent of Korea’s total content revenue last year. It was followed by broadcasting and information industries, which collected 21 trillion won and 17.8 trillion won, controlling 16.7 percent and 14.2 percent of Korea’s total content revenue, respectively.

By Kim Byung-wook (kbw@heraldcorp.com)
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