SEOUL, Dec. 14 (Korea Bizwire) – Revenue generated by mobile games surged this year, while traditional moneymakers like online games and “PC room” games – games played in South Korean internet cafes – stumbled.
South Korean games have endured a series of ups and downs in the past decade. According to a government document published on December 14, total revenues were approximately 7 trillion won in 2006 before falling to 5 trillion won the next year. After a period of steady growth from 2007 to 2013, there was another dip in performance, though smaller than the one in 2006. Since 2014, revenues have been improving gradually.
This year is expected to be a record breaking one by passing the 11 trillion won mark for the first time in history, with an expected improvement over last year’s total revenues of 6.2 percent to hit 11.5 trillion won.
Mobile games played a major role in rewriting the history books, as revenues rose 24.3 percent compared to the previous year. Subsequently, they also comprised a larger portion of the gaming market, going from 32.5 percent to 39.7 percent.
Online games and PC room games both suffered a downturn in fortunes, with their revenues declining by 12 percent and 11.7 percent, respectively. The success of mobile games this year has many speculating that their revenues will exceed those of online games for the first time in the industry’s history.
It was a good year for the gaming industry as a whole, as exports increased (2 percent) and imports decreased considerably (17 percent). Major export markets were China (37.6 percent), Japan (18.4 percent), Southeast Asia (15.6 percent), North America (11.4 percent) and Europe (10.3 percent).
South Korea ranked fifth in global gaming market share (5.7 percent), behind the United States, China, Japan and the U.K., and ahead of Germany, France, Italy and Canada. Per category, South Korea was second in market share for online games behind China, and fourth for mobile games after Japan, China and the United States.
The government document also contained data about domestic gaming establishments. In 2016, 73,993 were employed in the gaming sector, and there were 1,655 PC rooms and 800 arcades.