With that in mind, what’s troubling at the moment is the way Sony of Korea is handling PS3 in its infancy. Aside from the mildly publicized launch party, there’s been virtually no visible marketing whatsoever. Any advertisements, TV or otherwise, have been rare and/or forgettable, and it’s hard to find a PS3 demo station anywhere, even in Yongsan. All in all, this bears very little resemblance to the PS2 launch of 2001.
Granted, it’s an expensive machine, and Sony knows it’s not going to get anywhere at present by trying to sell PS3 to money-conscious moms and dads, but the lack of enthusiasm is alarming. Much like Microsoft at present, it feels as if Sony is going through the motions without a great deal of care.
Still, while Xbox 360 and PS3 may not be experiencing a remarkable degree of mainstream penetration (though in all fairness, the latter’s only been around for a very short time), they’re doing fine in their own right, as the latest console software top ten list shows. Here’s the list for the week that ended on 7/29, courtesy of AK Communications:
1. Super Mario 64 DS – NDS
2. Super Robot Wars OG – SCEK, PS2
3. Transformers – Activision, 360
4. Tetris DS – Nintendo, NDS
5. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam – Namco Bandai, PS3
6. Shrek 3 – Activision, Xbox 360
7. Virtua Tennis 3 – SCEK, PS3
8. DS Fairy Tale Touch RO Puzzle – Skonec (Korean), NDS
9. Sudoku 10,000 – Skonec, NDS
10. Ratatouille – SCEK, PS2
We can see a pretty even spread across all platforms, with the notable exception of PSP. DS has four titles present, while 360, PS3, and PS2 each have two. (Note: It bears mentioning that reliable sales lists for software, and especially hardware, are not easy to come by in Korea. While the above list from AK Communications is generally regarded as the most official, there’s still no guarantee that it paints a completely accurate picture of the current marketplace.)
Finally, looking to the future, we have Nintendo and its Wii, which is expected to launch in Korea sometime toward the end of 2007. As of right now, it’s just about the hottest grey market import item around, and the buzz surrounding it is growing every day.
Ask anyone within the Korean games industry what they think of Wii’s prospects in Korea, and you’ll always get a response that goes something like this: If Wii follows in the footsteps of DS with the right price and a dedicated onslaught of mainstream advertising, Nintendo could have a seriously massive hit on its hands. That’s a fact. Every single Korean I know who’s tried Wii Sports or Wii Play is dead set on purchasing one, and that can only mean good things for Nintendo.
It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next few years. While Microsoft seems like it’s going to stay right where it is for the time being – in a solid position catering to the hardcore crowd – the real question at this time hovers around Sony and whether or not it’s going to be able to repeat the success it had last generation with PS2. In the meantime, the newly formed Nintendo of Korea is riding high on the success of DS, and this is a streak it looks poised to continue with Wii.
Korea’s console market may not be expanding at breakneck speeds, but it’s growing just the same. Along with this growth comes an increase in one of the domestic industry’s greatest problems – piracy. Tune in next time for a report on that issue and what’s being done to remedy it.