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South Korean Gaming Companies Optimistic about China's Market Potential

South Korean gaming companies see bright prospects in China's gaming market. Recent approvals signal China's easing of restrictions on South Korean video game imports. South Korean video game imports have already made a significant impact in China.

South Korea's major video gaming companies are placing their bets on China's continued openness to franchises with a proven track record overseas. After facing regulatory crackdowns and geopolitical risks in the Chinese market in recent years, industry insiders and analysts believe that the granting of licenses for popular titles is a positive sign for the future.


Nexon, NCSoft Corp, and Netmarble Corp, the top three game publishers in South Korea, have had their titles approved for commercial release in China. These include Nexon's Dungeon & Fighter (DnF) Mobile, Netmarble's The King of Fighters All Star, and NCSoft's Blade & Soul 2. With at least 18 Korean video games licensed for release since late 2022, these companies are optimistic that China's openness will continue, allowing more titles to be enjoyed by gamers in the mainland.


According to a report by Shanghai-based video gaming industry research site GameLook, video gaming companies prefer to obtain licenses for products that have already proven their performance and achievements overseas. The strict control on the number of imports released in the market has made it crucial for companies to bring in titles with a successful track record.


South Korean video game imports have already made a significant impact in the Chinese market. At least nine major Korean games released from June to September last year generated over 3 billion yuan (US$417 million) in total revenue as of October, according to GameLook.


The recent approvals by the National Press and Publication Administration indicate that China has eased its restrictions on South Korean video game imports. Prior to December 2022, only two South Korean games had received licenses in the six years since March 2017. The ban on South Korean cultural imports, including video games, was initiated by Beijing in 2017 as a response to Seoul's deployment of a US anti-missile system.


China has historically been South Korea's largest export market for video games, accounting for over 38% of game exports in 2012. The recent approvals signal a positive shift in the relationship between the two countries in the gaming industry.


The release of DnF Mobile in China has garnered significant attention. Originally planned for an earlier release, the game's launch was suddenly canceled in August 2020. However, with the recent approval, excitement is building among gamers and analysts, who believe that the game's release will boost revenue for Tencent and Nexon.


The approval of these South Korean games is seen as a positive sign for the industry, and it is expected that more foreign games will be approved for release in China. The support shown by Beijing for the gaming industry, including the scrapping of a proposed regulation that affected the value of Chinese gaming stocks, further reinforces the potential for growth in the Chinese market.


While introducing older franchises may pose a challenge compared to newer and more advanced games, the popularity of these franchises in the mainland market gives them an advantage. Analysts believe that leveraging existing resources and appealing to players' emotional connections will be key to the success of these older franchises.

 
  • South Korean gaming companies see bright prospects in China's gaming market

  • Recent approvals signal China's easing of restrictions on South Korean video game imports

  • South Korean video game imports have already made a significant impact in China

Source: SCMP

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