Top 7 Gaming Industry Trends in South Korea
South Korea has an undefeated gaming culture and infrastructure, leading to a strong gaming market, which has a market size estimated at around $12.8 billion. This multi-billion market is a great avenue for businesses to explore and dive into, but first, they have to know the annual trends the industry faces.
The Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) has released data from 2020 about the industry. Keep reading to learn about the top 7 trends in the gaming industry of South Korea!
1. Overall Game Usage
In a survey targeting the general public (3,084 participants in total) between the ages of 10 and 65, it was found that 70.5% played games (PC, mobile, console, arcade). Compared to 65.7% from the previous year’s result, this was an increase of 4.8%.
As more people spent time inside their homes due to stay-at-home orders, games were a popular way to pass time for regular players and newbies alike. In addition to more people playing games, viewership in watching games through streaming services like Twitch also sharply increased.
Mobile games (91.1%) was the most played game field by game users, followed by PC games (59.1%), console games (20.8%), and arcade games (10.0%).
2. Virtual Reality (VR) Game Usage Rate
Virtual reality (VR) game usage rate for all game users was 7.7%, down 1.2% from the previous year. The popularity of VR has taken a small hit due to COVID-19, but this market is expected to grow as companies devote more resources to improving VR games.
VR use rate of women was relatively higher than that of men. By age, the use rate of people in their 30s was relatively higher than that of other age groups.
3. Behavior of the General Game Users
The most popular devices that game users use to play games are smartphones (94.7%), desktop PC (59.9%), laptop/notebook (51.2%), and tablet PC (32.4%).
Game users who use the PC rooms more than once a week used the PC room, on average, 6.2 times per month, and the most common usage time for one session was about 157 minutes (2–3 hours), which accounted for 43.4% of all respondents.
A considerable number of 6.8% of survey respondents played in the PC room for more than 5 hours in one session.
An interesting fact to note is that respondents who said that they mainly play games by using a PC room more than once a week on average, said that the reason for playing games in the PC room was “to get along with friends/colleagues.”
4. Awareness & Attitude Towards Game Companies
Of all respondents aged 10 to 65, 79.7% of the respondents responded “yes” when asked if they knew about the income method of recent game companies that make money through the sale of game items, instead of providing game software for free.
Respondents were also asked questions regarding blockchain games. Blockchain games are decentralized — meaning that instead of living in a centrally controlled server, blockchain game assets (digital goods) are distributed among the players.
Blockchain gaming gives autonomy to the players in a transparent and fair playing field. Each player becomes part of the “chain,” without the need for a dedicated server for multiplayer play. Blockchain games either issue their own token or use an existing token, which can be turned into real-world currency through a cryptocurrency.
As a result of asking 2,174 participants about the degree of interest in blockchain games, 40.6% of respondents answered that they were interested, and 59.4% stated otherwise.
5. Perception of Game Usage by Children
Respondents with school children had differing opinions when asked about the habits and usage of their children playing games. Out of the 642 parents (or parental figures), 51.6% of the respondents with school aged children answered that will allow children to play games to the extent that does not interfere with schooling.
A group of 43.0% of respondents replied that children should only be allowed to play at a designated and allocated time period.
When asked whether to play games with their children, 45.0% of parents with school-aged girls answered “sometimes” and 22.5% answered “almost never.”
6. Changes in Game Usage due to COVID-19
Recently, a study was conducted to find out whether there was any change in the usage behavior of users in different game platforms due to COVID-19 (after January 2020).
First, in the case of usage time, the response rate that game usage increased in PC, mobile, and console games appeared to be over 40% for all three. In contrast, the number of users of arcade games, being that it requires visiting and enjoying the game in person, declined, with 32.3% responding that usage in this field decreased significantly.
As with PC, mobile, and console games, where the rate of increase in game usage time was high, the response rate that the usage cost also increased was also quite high. Arcade games suffered considerable financial losses, with 38.8% of respondents admitting to spending significantly less in this field.
7. Changes in VR Game Usage due to COVID-19
26.6% of users who have experienced virtual reality (VR) games with equipment such as PCs, smartphones, consoles, and standalone VR devices responded that the game use time increased after COVID-19.
45.7% of respondents with experience said spending on purchasing content increased, due to the fact that people are spending more time at home and looking for new activities in the home.
By characteristics of respondents, the rate of use of games was far higher by men than by women for all game fields in South Korea. By age, it was surveyed that those in their 20s and under used games relatively more than people in their 30s and older.
Most game users (70.9%) seemed to be aware of how game companies are making money even if the application or software download to play is free.
In general, the gaming industry was able to withstand the economic difficulties imposed by COVID-19 compared to other industries. In certain fields, gaming companies thrived as more people looked for ways to spend their newfound time at home.
The gaming industry in South Korea will continue to grow in the next coming years, as this data from KOCCA suggests. To know more about Korea’s different industry trends, go and check the AJ Marketing Blog.