Gaming in Korea

Sorry about the lack of updates recently I’ve been sick for about a week.

Before I came here I’d heard how PC gaming was big in Korea. I’d read a lot of magazine articles that compared it to the Japanese console market. The comparision is, terrible.

The Japanese game market, arcades excluded, functions in very similar ways to the American game market. Basically it’s all based on getting people to buy your game and single and multiplayer games are both big bussiness.

The Korean game market has no single player games. Playing Starcraft’s campaign in a PC bang (read bong–an arcade for PC games pictured above) is considered rude. One of the reasons behind the lack of single player games is they pirate everything that isn’t nailed down here. In general spending money up front on games is becoming rarer and rarer. The free to play model is such big bussiness here it’s all setup on the heroin dealer system the first hit’s free. But I think that really limits the kinds of games that they can make to stuff with really good quick appeal.

At this point i should point out that there is a console scene here and piracy is still an issue there although less so. One of my students had a flash drive in her DS though. I’m not really seriously morally bothered by piracy. I’ve chosen not to do it for years now but plenty of my friends do but seeing what happens when Piracy is unrestrained makes me dislike it a lot more.

The games they do play here other than stuff from Blizzard and NC soft mostly aren’t all that well known in the West. Warcraft, Starcraft, Lineage, Diablo, Aion you’ve probably all heard of those but then you get to a bunch of free to play stuff like KartRider, Sudden Attack, Dungeon Fighter Online a lot of clones of better games. Also Maplestory and Fifa Online are huge here. At least with my students…almost all of them are into either one or both of them.

Other than Blizzard there really isn’t a Western publisher with any kind of substantial presence here in the PC space. I have seen Xbox 360s with American games in Emart and Homeplus but i’ve yet to see anyone buying that stuff.

Oddly enough the PC bangs advertise how great their computers are…and then Koreans go in them and play Starcraft and Kartrider both of which I’ll bet you could run on one of the more advanced cellphones here if you really wanted to.

Oh great a top of the line Nvidia card to play Starcraft locked at 640x 480.

The saving grace for me is that steam works here and they’ll let you bring an external storage device into the PC bang and play whatever. I just got a 500 gig hard disk which powers through the USB to take with me on a gaming bender.

About Andrew Martin
Hello, I'm a 31 year old educator. I've spent a few years abroad before coming back to the states this year. I'm a man of many interests, and I use seoulbound as my place for talking about them.

2 Responses to Gaming in Korea

  1. Dylan says:

    Dungeon Fighter Online sounds like it could be fun. Also lose the last sentence.

  2. seoulbound says:

    You’re right the last sentence saying that steam works here which was nice needed to either be spun off as another graph or cut so i cut it.

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