DS, Wii heading to Korea

Nintendo announces plans to release Korean-version consoles and games.

by

On July 7 this year, Nintendo announced that it had opened a new office in South Korea with an initial capital investment of 25 billion won (approx $27 million.) But until now, there had been no news about the subsidiary which appeared to be floundering in its plans for the "Koreanization" of Nintendo's products.

Video games are big business in Korea, particularly online, and game addiction is a problem addressed by the government, a situation made noteworthy after a man died while playing World of Warcraft online.

But one of the big problems in breaking into the Korean market is the high level of piracy in the region, thought to be as much as 40 to 50 percent of the market--which means that original copies of games and computer software do not sell well in the country's retail shops.

Until recently, Japanese game companies like Nintendo and Sony also faced another problem--Japanese game consoles and games were illegal in Korea. This century-old law also banned other Japanese culture imports, including movies and music, but has now been phased out gradually, starting in 1998. By 2003, the law had been completely overturned, allowing Japanese pop culture to "invade" the country.

Now, Nintendo is following in the footsteps of Sony and Microsoft with big plans. The PlayStation Portable was launched on May 2, 2005, and the Xbox 360 at the beginning of 2006.

After a rocky start, Nintendo Korea seems to be working up a full head of steam--it has announced the release of the Korean language DS Lite on January 18, 2007, and has enlisted the services of heart-throb actor Jang Dong-gun for an advertising campaign to promote the handheld. It will be initially available in four colours--crystal white, ice blue, noble pink, and jet black--and will retail for 150,000 won ($162.)

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata recently held a press conference at Nintendo company headquarters with members of the Korean media, in which he announced Nintendo's plans to move aggressively into the Korean game market.

Iwata also confirmed that work was under way on a Korean language version of the Wii and that it would be available in late 2007. In addition, Nintendo has begun to develop games in partnership with Korean game company Nexon. He told The JoongAng Daily, "We will begin sales after localization is complete. We plan to actively support Korean game software developers who have great expertise in developing online games and support their advances into foreign markets."

He added that he was confident that Nintendo would be as successful in Korea as it has been in the US and Europe, but added that because of the predominance of online gaming, he almost felt like he was "selling women's cosmetics to men."

Discussion

109 comments
dhfial1
dhfial1

Cool, I'm the first to comment in more than a year!

mkDSpro63
mkDSpro63

maybe, just MAYBE..the DS and Wii could be a success in Korea. but im korean, and have lived in korea for a couple years, and iv seen the pc rooms (internet plazzas). they're so freaking overcrowed! I think Nintendo should let us koreans stick with the popular PC online games and stop trying to "use us" to make quality online games for their systems. however, i still hope the DS and Wii become great successes. I have both of them here in America and I'm having tons of fun. partnering with Nexon was pretty smart i guess, considering Nexon has made very good online games like BNB.

karahasan
karahasan

Nintendo needs content from the boys of Korea. Hopefully this new market will expand their online offerings, as for some reason, many developers from the west seem to ignore the Wii's online capabilities

matrixman2k
matrixman2k

great news we need more people supporting interactive entertainment and increase business + recognition.

santiagochile
santiagochile

When is the Ice Blue DS Lite coming to the U.S.??

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

Next thing you know, people die in the subway, because they are too excited about the NDS ... shesssh ... then Nintendo would suffer blames and flames

ZeroTae
ZeroTae

Niceeee ^^... wonder when wii launches there...

ObiKKa
ObiKKa

LOL! I knew of that man, but I didn't know that he was from Korea. Cool. No wonder he's happily with Microsoft!

Lyten
Lyten

i would like to add that one of the founder of xbox/ 360 is a korean named Shane Kim.

ObiKKa
ObiKKa

"...but added that because of the predominance of online gaming, he almost felt like he was "selling women's cosmetics to men." Lol, so does this mean that Microsoft, with their already strongly established integration of online community into their Xbox & Xbox 360 consoles, and the upcoming Xbox Live Anywhere for the connection between their console, PC & mobile devices, will win in Korea, after all? That's like admitting itself! Running servers inside South Korea for the players over there might be cheap, so Microsoft could bring the Xbox Live subscription price down...

elozl
elozl

Good news for those guys over there, i hope they all keep good sales and also good use of theyr free will when choosing the game ratings by age...

X_Box_Killer
X_Box_Killer

Something odd about the Japanese imports being illegal thing. - Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger, which was "converted" into the wretched Power Ranger SPD over here was played there in Korea. Except it had the Americanized name. o.O

krnchicken753
krnchicken753

eerie921 I'm Korean and I agree with that statement I never got a console for christmas but not like the rest thats into starcraft or warcraft and such i'm actually into games like halo :-)

Cantius
Cantius

South Korea are known for very good online computer games.(Tales Weaver,GUNZ online,ETC)

radiostyle
radiostyle

it's so much good news for me. However, almost players are 'PC Online Game Players' and they think online games are very cheap and fun but console games suck and they are so much expensive. Also they've been playing Starcraft(Blizzard's RTS) and there are lots of competitions in Korea. They think Starcraft is the best game in the world! It's too bad :(

lzorro
lzorro

South Korea is a great place very bright and vibrant just like the DS it's perfect.

Lyten
Lyten

hey viper200392630 I hope you do know the difference from south to north korea, because they are like apples to oranges as a nation! Sheesh ignorant people seem to congregate in this forum. For people who don't get it, South Korea is back by USA and North Korea is where Kim Jung Il is located. sheesh. To Lithus Strange how i find you in topics of South Korea again with negativity. I wonder if you would be finding a third any time soon. Before i say anything unpleasant, can you give the source for your finding?

palomaydarla
palomaydarla

great for nintendo and korea... i hope they enjoy!!

eric2mrng
eric2mrng

the richer nintendo get, the more likely the quality of there software will improve so this is valid good news. nintendo online content is weak atm but once they work with the korean game makers im certain the quality of online gameplay will vastly improve.. everything just takes time. Maple Story DS would be fantastic!

Rokin1
Rokin1

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

viper200392630
viper200392630

we got to make shure kim jong il dont get his greedy hand on a ds or a wii

eerie921
eerie921

Sorry of the double post since it was abit too long.... I also forgot to mention that people stating "Starcraft is behind times" are a bunch of hypocrites!! Does playing Final Fantasy 5 on your GBA considered behind times? The only reason why Starcraft is big cuz it's the ONE AND ONLY game which completely popularized online gaming in that country. But you're still addicted to older version of Final Fantasy and Zelda arent you? I know I am.

eerie921
eerie921

Since when has playing Starcarft considered behind times? And yes, Starcraft is considered sports in the country as they have about 3 channels on TV playing it for 24/7 but people with the age range from 10~50 still watches it. In other countries, Chess is also considered as a sport isnt it? Isnt playing online games with your dad a good idea to begin with? The only reason why there are much piracy in Korea is due to the fact that people dont really care much on console gaming or at least it's not that popular. There are more players on Pay-per-Play addicts than those of who actually owns a PS2. There are ALOT of online games made and operated in Korea besides Maple Story. And the competition is very tight when it comes to online gaming in korea. A really BIG reason why consoles arent popular is this - Parents goes against GAMING on their children permenantly. You wouldnt be seeing a korean kid opening a present on christmas with a PS2 on the label. But every household owns a PC and the internet is one of the best in the world when it comes to speed. You do the math why Online games are so popular. I DOUBT THAT WII OR DS MAPLE STORY WOULD BE SUCCESSFUL. It's not that TITLE they are interested in but HOW OFTEN CAN THEY PLAY IT and WHAT CAN THEY PLAY IT WITH. (Before any of you have doubts.....I'll run deeper into the subject) Korean students at the age early as 14 yrs old comes home at 10pm at NIGHT from their school,private tutors,subject schools etc. And their parents are still not satisified with their school report cards. Since schools are REALLY REALLY hard. I mean, Learning Algebra at the age of 9 is considered too hard for me!! Ever wondered WHY exchange students from Asia are GOOD AT MATHS? It's the only subject which doesnt involve english. So the Korean Parents goes against GAMING Literary!!

Superion74
Superion74

I hope DS and Wii will be successful in Korea. But online gaming is huge in Korea, and both DS & Wii so far have very limited online capabilities, utilizing friends code and disallow connecting with other console users freely. If Nintendo wants to break into online gaming, then they must do what XBox Live is doing, and let gamers able to go to a virual lobby that gives them quick access to other gamers. Friends code is nothing but a barrier for true online gaming.

paullywog
paullywog

there will be soooo many sales of the ds.

brandn14
brandn14

Some people here seem to be mistaking north korea for south korea... what an educated bunch 0_0 ....

TWOC2689
TWOC2689

Something big is going down and it isn't just about games it is something bigger and much more serious!

xanst
xanst

Oh, god, please bring korean games to the DS/ Wii, please @_@.

princeofgames90
princeofgames90

Why the hell should i care i wont care even if it goes to the holololo wich is an imaginery place

strategyking92
strategyking92

omg just shut up about the wiiconnect24 it'll get better fanboys.

lithus
lithus

I'm happy that the South Koreans gaming is moving forward. But is their economy strong enough to spend on it. I've read and seen documentaries that show more than half the populace being below the red when it comes to income. I shouldn't need to explain how addicting gaming can be.

Mark2099
Mark2099

Wii isn't as good online as other networks are, thats bad news in korea

yboucher
yboucher

High level of piracy is S. Korea ? This is totally news to me... I don't get it. The purchasing power is pretty high over there now... *-)

Berem
Berem

good for them.. I hope they bring many online games to america as well.

Lord_Regnier
Lord_Regnier

Well hopefully this will help Nintendo get better with online support:D

Neoyamaneko
Neoyamaneko

lhardwick692 "why dont they catch up with the demand in the other areas first then continue to release them around the world.." Yeah, because people in other areas should suffer just because *you* didn't get your Wii. :roll:

Zero_Fate_
Zero_Fate_

Arent the people running Nintendo Korea idiots? No offense to Nintendo or Korea but there was just a documentation on how poor the support from Nintendo is in Korea.

Illyasviel
Illyasviel

Yay for Nintendo. Now if they just make the Wii region free......

pencilpusher69
pencilpusher69

lhardwick692 "why dont they catch up with the demand in the other areas first then continue to release them around the world.." That's probably why they said that it would be "available in late 2007." So...that's probably why he said that...

nestea_king
nestea_king

THIS WILL BE AWESOME!!! The Koreans will help the online community of Nintendo SO MUCH! I definitely expect more online games from Nintendo now that they have Kora on their side. MAPLESTORY DS, and MAPLESTORY WII!!!

Hinduce
Hinduce

how can you DIE in real life while playing World Of Warcrack? I though i was a gamer nerd but that dude has me beat. This is going to have me asking a lot of questions. WHY? HOW?

blueflamedino
blueflamedino

rock on to corporate invasion, say hello to capitalism