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Mobile games remain strong while PC games decline, KOCCA report

Total size and growth rate of the domestic gaming market from 2009 to 2018 (KOCCA)
Total size and growth rate of the domestic gaming market from 2009 to 2018 (KOCCA)

The domestic gaming market in 2019 was worth 15.575 trillion won ($14.1 billion), a 9 percent increase from 2018, according to the Korea Creative Content Agency’s 2020 White Paper on Korean Games. Korea accounted for 6.2 percent of the global gaming market, putting it as the fifth biggest market.

A survey of 3,084 people showed that 70.5 percent of respondents had played games at least once since June 2019, with 91.1 percent of those who responded in the affirmative having played mobile games. While PC game use was significantly higher for men than women, there were no significant differences in utilization rates between men and women for mobile games.

The report also showed the continued success of mobile games. 
Domestic gaming market share by field (KOCCA)
Domestic gaming market share by field (KOCCA)

The mobile game market surpassed the PC game market in 2017 and has since maintained its lead. The mobile game market sales reached over 7.7 trillion won in 2019, a 16.3 percent increase compared to 2018, and amounted to 49.7 percent of the gaming industry sales. PC game sales decreased 4.3 percent year-on-year to around 4.8 trillion won, or 30.9 percent of the gaming market, while other sectors all increased in sales. Sales from internet cafes stood at 2.4 trillion won, or 13.1 percent, with console game sales at 694.6 billion won, or 4.5 percent.

The projected increase of the gaming industry market for 2020 according to the report is 9.2 percent, to reach 17.93 trillion won.

“In 2020, the consumption of games, a representative non-face-to-face content, increased due to the spread of the infectious disease, COVID-19. The game production business that focuses on mobile and console games, in particular, is expected to grow significantly. On the other hand, distribution businesses, such as internet cafes and game arcades, are expected to record negative growth because they cannot operate properly due to strict social distancing measures,” the report summary said.

Net gaming industry exports amounted to $6.65 billion in 2019, a 3.8 percent increase from the previous year, while imports decreased to $298 million, a 2.5 percent drop. The biggest importer of Korean games was China, accounting for 40.6 percent of Korea’s game exports.

In addition to changes in the gaming industry, issues in the gaming world outlined in the report include the rise of classic games from the early 2000s that have been made into mobile games and the abolition of a blanket wage system, where legal allowances like overtime work are included in the basic salary, in gaming companies.

Other issues of 2019, such as the World Health Organization classifying gaming disorder as a disease and the Korean government’s efforts to protect esports competitors’ rights, are addressed in the report, which can be found on the KOCCA website at www.kocca.kr.

By Lim Jang-won (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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