Strong Partnership Between Government and Game Industry
Strong Partnership Between Government and Game Industry
  • Staff
  • 승인 2008.12.26 12:48
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Online PC and mobile games, and especially so-called casual games, were expected to push the South Korean gaming market to more than $1.7 billion by 2009 according to the market research firm Pearl Research. South Korea's availability of PCs -- including the prevalence of home computers, high-speed Internet, and cyber cafes -- was expected to foster the increase. But that was assuming that the effect of software piracy or rising game-development costs in the Korean game market were kept to a minimum. Further studies show that South Korea has a sophisticated information technology (IT) infrastructure with 80% of households connected to the Internet. South Korea has one of the highest adoption rates for purchasing virtual items and using micro-transactions. Approximately 67% of those in the 20-30 age group purchased online paid content. Of those who purchased digital content, 91% purchased music while 39% purchased community and avatar items from online services. A common strategy in Korea is the operation of large game portals that provide a wide selection of games, including massively- multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), casual, and web board games all accessed from one convenient site. Top game portals such as CJ Internet's Netmarble, NHN's Hangame, and Neowiz's Pmang can attract 500,000 to 1 million unique visitors each day. More than 12 million Korean adults visit game portals every month, according to estimates by Pearl Research. While South Korea has a robust games market, critical challenges include intense domestic competition; prevalence of derivative titles; challenges in expanding overseas to the US and China; and rising development costs.



Government in the Gaming Industry

Here, the divided role of different government sectors shows a beneficial side. One of the sectors that has been giving the gaming industry passionate support is the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (MCST). There is an old Korean saying that "a deeply rooted tree does not sway in the wind," noted Minister Yu In-chon of the MCST. He continued by saying; "As the saying goes, the MCST plans to continuously plant and nurture trees with strong roots of creativity and culture to share with the global community." The expansion of tax breaks for the gaming industry, an activation of foreign investments via export consultation, and concentrated support in enterprises which show potential are only a few ways the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism has been involving itself in the gaming industry. The MCST also supports game companies that are based in cultural centers. As most parents believe their role is to support their children in needed areas and keep making opportunities for their children to use, the MCST plays its role as a supporter of gaming industry of South Korea by promoting and improving policies, educating potential experts, and expanding the potential investment funds. Areas in the gaming industry that the MCST hopes to improve begin with policies that cope with new issues in the gaming industry - such as policies regarding a change of user environment, enlistment of KOSDAQ, illegal servers, hacking, and deliberation systems for online games. Finding the ways to collaborate policies and regulations between countries is another mission of the MCST.


Future strategy and the gaming industry

"The MCST is in progress to develop the structure of the game industry by organizing the best environment for game development, creating a global publisher and expert studio structure plan, and fostering collaboration between big firms and smaller companies," the Minister Yu said. Multi-platform games, WiBro and IPTV-utilizing futuristic games, and functional games are also on the MCST's target list to improve on. Game related research, development and training, therefore, must be provided to create competitive game content and strengthen Korean game companies in the global market. "Creation of an international communication code for e-sports is also something that we should keep in mind to lead the dynamic gaming culture," said Yu.


World trends

While leading companies previously relied on market flow and a reduced role of government in business, they now insist on government policy assistance. In Taiwan, the Digital Content Industry Promoting Organization (DCIPO) was established in May 2002 to nurture digital content industries such as online games, PC games, mobile games, and arcade games. In Japan, the Digital Content Association of Japan (DCAJ) was set up to promote the production of digital content, distribution, and expansion of businesses. DCAJ conducts digital content publications, research, and forums. In 2006, the Online Game Forum was organized to announce Game Industry Strategy. France has been building up manpower and improving technology in the visual content area at its Centre National de la cinematographie (CNC), while Digital Media Culture Sports (DMCS) in England has recently chosen the culture content industry as a creative industry and started a program called Skillset to build up manpower. Likewise, the National Film Board of Canada (NFBC) has also recognized cultural content as the next growth engine of the country and is supporting various areas including manpower and production funds. On top of following the world's policy direction, the Korean government is working hard to create a healthy game culture. Recent accomplishments involved the establishment of a local Game Addiction Rehabilitation Center.


GStar Wave

Minister Yu said; "We expect GStar to expand the domestic gaming industry and help us to engage in business on a global scale. Export consultation and investment consultation on the show floor will help our industries to bear fruit. Over 100 foreign top buyers will visit the exhibition and have 1,000 meetings with domestic companies. GStar's impact on businesses is already being highly recognized both in this country and worldwide. The improvement of exhibition scale by displaying various content and brand new products is greatly expected, and converged platform exhibition is also on the hot spot of people's expectations. Companies that are both directly or indirectly related to gaming industries like animation, publishing, and security solutions are sought in order to come together at the GStar floor to expand the IT industry." He went on to conclude; "Last but not least, we believe that GStar will have a positive influence upon the people's current perception of games. GStar already has become an exhibition where over 15,000 participants come from different backgrounds with a common interest. Here, they shall experience and interact with various gaming contents and re-evaluate games." In spite of gaming's side effects, healthy gaming content has so much to offer in our lives. As long as government bodies like MCST walk in tight step with the development of gaming industries, policies and regulations will be there to ensure a safe entertainment.




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