September 28, 2023


[MUSAI] 2020 White Paper on Korean Games ①, the ‘Trend of Active Localization in Korean’ Brought the High Growth Rate of Console Gaming Market



The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) together published the ‘2020 White Paper on Korean Games,’ which analyzes the trends of domestic and international gaming market. According to the paper, Korean gaming market has grown by 9.0% in 2019 compared to the previous year, maintaining a high growth trend for recent 10 years. In particular, the console gaming market has marked the most striking growth rate of 31.4%. Although the market is still smaller compared to mobile or PC game market, but it has shown high growth rate for 4 consecutive years. And it is drawing attention as the trend of active localization in Korean is mentioned as one of the backgrounds for such growth of the console market. Let’s find out in more detail.

[Image 1] A 9.0% increase in the Korean gaming market in 2019, compared to the previous year (Source: ‘2020 White Paper on Korean Games,’ Korea Creative Content Agency)


▶ Korean Console Gaming Market Maintains High Growth Rate for 4 Consecutive Years

The Korean gaming industry has recorded a high annual growth rate of 9% over the past 10 years, excluding a slight decline in year 2013. Among them, although the market share of the console games is 4.5%, smaller than PC games (30.9%) and mobile games (49.7%), it is showing a remarkable growth trend. The domestic console gaming market has recorded an annual average growth rate exceeding 40% since 2016, and such trend is expected to continue until 2022.

[Image 2] Korean console gaming market recording high growth rate in consecutive years (Source: ‘2020 White Paper on Korean Games,’ Korea Creative Content Agency)


▶ ‘Localization in Korean Improving the Accessibility’ – The Driving Force Behind the Growth of the Console Gaming Market

In the White Paper on Korean Games, ‘Korean localization of console games’ was mentioned as one of the main factors of 4 years of such a large growth in the domestic console gaming market. As shown in the table below, among the 10 best sold titles in the global console gaming market of 2019, 8 games supported Korean. Moreover, most of the Game of the Year (GOTY) award-winning games also supported Korean. Accordingly, localization of many console games resulted improving accessibility, and ‘gamers are now reluctant to access the games that are not localized.’

[Image 3] 8 of the top 10 games in the global console games sales of 2019 supported Korean. (Source: ‘2020 White Paper on Korean Games,’ Korea Creative Content Agency)


“The major titles in the console gaming market 2019 generally supported Korean. … Korean gamers are now reluctant to access the games that are not localized.”


Aside from this, in addition to the enhanced maturity of the Korean console gaming market – purchasing high quality games being much general now unlike the past trend of being very stingy with the purchase of pay-to-play games, the domestic game companies starting to develop console games in earnest was cited as other reasons for the high growth level. The release of next generation consoles (i.e. Xbox and Playstation) was also expected to play as a favorable factor to the continuous growth of the market.


Through this data, it was possible to confirm more clearly how Korean localization affects securing accessibility and popularity over the market. Hope 2021 to be a year which Korean localization becomes more common and the Korean gaming market takes a further leap.



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