8 key facts about South Korea Mobile Game Industry

Hi there,

Updated Mar 2019: since this post is quite old, I have an updated post with 2019 data “8 key facts about South Korea Mobile Game Industry (update Mar 2019)“. Below is the original post back in 2016.

I have been curious about South Korea game industry for a while now so I am using eMarketer reports, App Annie and a few other sources to highlight the top 8 key facts about South Korea Mobile Game industry below. You could download the presentation via Google Drive here.

1. South Korea ranks 4th in  the world in terms of Mobile Game Revenue

top 10 countries ranked by mobile game revenue 2015

2. Mobile game revenue in South Korea is on par with PC/console game revenue in 2016

Mobile vs. PC or Console Video Game Revenue Share in Select Countries 2016

3. There are more than 20M mobile gamers in South Korea or 49% of all internet users (42.8M)

mobile gamer population in south korea

4. About 60% of mobile gamers in South Korea spend more than 30 mins+ per day playing games vs an average of 96 mins on the internet

daily time spent playing games amongst mobile gamers in south korea march 2016

As you could see from the table above, there are no major differences between gender amongst South Korean mobile gamers.

About 80% of mobile gamers play less than 60 mins per day, which suggests that they see this as a casual form of entertainment, rather serious professional players.

In comparison to time spent on TV, however, mobile game time is significant.

time spent with media in south korea march 2016

5. Mobile gamers in South Korea mostly play on Android OS (75%). About half of mobile gamers spend money on games, spending on average monthly $12.8 per payer

demographic profiles of mobile gamers in south korea china japan dec 2015 v2

6. 35% of South Korean mobile gamers install 4+ games per month to try but they also uninstall them quickly

number of mobile games downloaded by mobile gamers in south korea per month march 2016

and below are the top 3 smartphone app categories installed vs uninstalled across key markets in APAC

top 3 smartphone catgories of installed vs uninstalled by smartphone users in china india japan and south korea

7. Local players (9 games) dominate the top 12 grossing mobile games on Google play in South Korea Dec 2016; and 8/12 games are Role Playing games (RPG)

top 12 grossing games on Google play store in south korea dec 2016

8. Mobile games as a “bite size” form of entertainment

Recent article from eMarketer Analysing habits of South Korean Mobile Gamers suggested that “Gamers in South Korea also appear to play such mobile games as a “bite size” form of entertainment rather than as an ongoing activity. More than 78% of mobile gamers spent less than one hour per day playing, and more than 40% spent less than 30 minutes per day. The relatively short time spent figures suggest mobile gaming may be used as a time filler during activities like taking public transit or while multitasking.”
AppLovin interview with Josh Burns has many interesting insights as well:

“The top 10 games in the market capture nearly 75 percent of the overall market revenue.” – estimate from Josh
When you ride the subway there, the majority of ads you’ll see will likely be for mobile games — nearly all of the country’s population is centered around Seoul, making in-person marketing such as subway ads quite effective.
Timing for communications is also key for South Korean mobile gamers: local developers tend to send push notifications during commute hours or during the lunch break, and in-game sales often occur around payday (24th-26th of every month). Also, developers have leveraged in-game subscriptions for awhile now, so players are accustomed to that monetization strategy.
That’s all from me for today.


P.S: again, You could download the presentation via Google Drive here.

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