An inside look into the Korean game market from the biggest seller of PC games in the region.
H2 Interactive is based in South Korea. We mainly publish games and distribute different projects. We work with Arc System Works from Japan, we’re the official Korean partner for Take Two Interactive. We also have our own digital store, where we sell keys for Steam, Origin, or for any other big online games like Wildstar.
H2 Interactive is actually the first company in Korea to do the key reseller store and still the biggest and the most popular service to buy games online in South Korea. I guess we managed to get our foot in the door first.
PC Market in South Korea
Definitely PC-games is a bit market in Korea. Connectivity-wise Korea is one of the best markets in the world and naturally online was like the main image associated with our land. However PC single player games and console games are also very popular here.
The only problem that stops the further development of PC market in South Korea is the language barrier. Unfortunately not everyone is fluent in English. As long as titles are getting localized, people are willing to buy them.
Sometimes even the language barrier doesn’t stop fans. There were examples when gamers bought big western titles without localization and figured out the language stuff themselves to be able to play the game. I think Korea is a pretty good market in terms of console games and other non-online PC games as well.
Localization is more than just a simple translation thing. There a lot of cultural peculiarities that you have to take into account. For example in Korean there’s a whole special way of speaking to the elderly, which is completely different from the way you speak with your friends. You have to know that culture to be able to implement these details into the game. For non native speakers that might be an issue.
Most publishers don’t want to mess with these details, cause it greatly increases the costs of publishing. And for Korean users it’s really a pity, because they don’t get to play a lot of games they really want. People are willing to play but there’s a barrier that’s kind of stopping them from doing that.
Pricing of PC Games
The prices in South Korea are actually pretty much comparable to the western markets. Console games are almost the same as in the States. But PC games tend to be slightly cheaper, not by a big margin. It’s like the US-price without extra fees and taxes.
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The biggest recent highlight was GTA V. Back when it was released for consoles we sold A LOT of copies. Earlier this year when it came out on PC we also hit one of our highest sales periods. Other big titles would be other Take-Two Interactive style big games you’d expect to do well.
Working As a Publisher
We also have global publishing rights for certain games. One of these games is a 2D-fighting action game series BlazBlue. This is one of the bestsellers that we actually publish. This is a Japanese developer, but we are registered as the global publisher.
We’re working hard on publishing Asian games and bringing them to the world, and vice versa. We are trying to reach a bigger audience through Steam and other distribution channels out there.
Indie Developers in South Korea
Indie developers in South Korea is still kind of a blur to me. But there’s one big indie game that I would like to point out is called Little Devil Inside (check out our exclusive interview with the developers). A very cool game. I think there are more, but they are less known because they don’t speak any English and aren’t able to get Kickstarter.