South Korean online gaming boom

Recent studies of the South Korean gaming market show a fervent gaming culture and indicate that it is enjoying something of a boom, according to San Francisco research company Pearl Research. The firm predicts that the online games market in the country will reach $1.7 billion next (2009) year.

Researchers found that free-to-play, easy-to-learn casual games is one of the fastest growing South Korean market segments. Quality (broadband) Internet connections characterise the market, with up to 80 percent of households online. 67 percent of Koreans in the 20 – 30 age demographic have paid for online content, roughly 40 percent of that group having paid for avatar items from online services.

Over 10 million Korean adults visit game portals every month, Pearl Research estimates, revealing that a common strategy in Korea is the operation of large game portals that provide a wide selection of games, including massively-multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), casual, and web board games all within one site.

Top game portals are identified as CJ Internet's Netmarble, NHN's Hangame, and Neowiz's Pmang and can attract 500 000 to 1 million unique visitors a day.

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