Korea may seem like a small market in comparison to the powerhouses of China and Japan, but as the third ranking country for Google Play and App Store revenue, it is not to be overlooked. Boasting one of the most advanced networks in the world with near saturation of smartphones, Korea is one of the most dynamic markets North East Asia has to offer.
The Smartphone Environment:
• The Korean market is dominated by Android, which holds a whopping 90% of the operating system market share. This is largely due to the fact that it is home to both Samsung and LG, two powerhouses in Android smartphone manufacturing.
• As a result, third party and carrier app stores, such as SK Planet, drive the vast majority of revenue, with Google Play and the Apple App Store trailing behind.
The Game Charts:
• South Korea’s charts are dominated by a handful of domestic publishers: CJ Group (Kakao), Gamevil, and WeMade Entertainment.
• Kakao, an OTT, is the predominant platform for mobile gaming in the country, taking in a total of 66% of all app revenue.
• The majority of successful foreign games to have entered the country thus far are Chinese and Japanese, western games, like Candy Crush Saga, have managed to make an impression. With Kakao taking a 21% cut of the revenue (in addition to the standard 30% from app stores), developers are left with just 49% of their revenue.
• As Korea’s mobile game market continues to grow, it is likely that Kakao will have less of a stronghold. With the right partnerships and a good marketing strategy, publishing on your own will become a more viable option.
Benefits and Advantages:
• Very good monetization, with average spending around $5 USD per person.
• Less piracy and copy-catting than China, making it a much easier market to break into.
• Korean culture has an influence on the rest of Asia. A game that becomes very popular in Korea is easy to turn into a success in Japan, China, and South East Asia in particular.
• Excellent infrastructure and smartphone saturation that combine to make it a great potential test market for Asia.