Korea Rising: Five Crucial Interviews
January 4, 2008 Page 10 of 21
Microsoft: Dae Hwan Lim, marketing coordinater in the Entertainment & Device Division
How long has Microsoft had Xbox operations in Korea?
Dae Hwan Lim: Version one? They launched the Xbox in 2001, in December. The 360 was launched in 2006 everywhere.
Sony was launched a lot earlier. Why did Microsoft decide to take the approach to jump into Korea?
DL: The PlayStation 2 was launched one year before the Xbox version one. At that time, people were aware of video games but not many were in the userbase then. With the PlayStation, they could see the possibilities of the market. Microsoft saw the prospect in the market, so they decided to come to Korea. After the launching of version one, we had a competitive relationship with the PS2, and in 2006, we launched the 360 and started forward.
How many 360s have been sold in Korea so far? I think I saw a number at the Gstar presentation -- like 150,000, maybe?
DL: 100,000, here.
That's about what I thought. It's not a secret that the Korean and the Japanese markets are very small for the 360 still.
DL: It's a market with a huge possibility, because 80 percent of people are aware of games and understand playing.
What do you think it's going to take for Microsoft to have a big success in Korea?
DL: There are some games for the Korean market, like the games developed in Asian territories. So there are some anticipated games, like games developed in Japan and Korea. They're making games preparing for the holiday season.
It seems that most Korean companies in the past made Sony games, but currently, they're targeting PC and 360. What is Microsoft doing in Korea to support them, or give them incentive to make games for Microsoft platforms?
DL: They need some tools to get Korean developers to make Xbox games, so they have a special person who is in charge of that kind of stuff. They have a third-party manager, so that they can give regard to the developers and help them. The online game market in Korea is huge, so there is a lot of convergence going on from online to Xbox. They are doing a lot.
Are you doing any funding of games that are created in Korea?
DL: We don't do the funding with money, but we support development of the software. We have our own R&D team, and when third-parties import those games, they support the localized version.
How much is done in localization? Do you do voice as well as text and the manual and all that?
DL: Our goal is to localize the games with 80 percent of text, or sometimes voice. But sometimes there are games that don't really need localization, like racing games and shooting games.
So those are usually in English language, right?
DL: English and sometimes Japanese.
Microsoft in the U.S. has internal game developers in the Xbox division, and in Japan, they have Microsoft Game Studios. Will there ever be similar internal development at Microsoft Korea?
DL: We don't have any development studios.
Yeah, but is there any plan to do anything like that in the future?
DL: There are a lot of start-up development companies here we'll support first. Still, I think there's a possibility if the market gets huge and gets bigger, because it's a very good environment for game development.
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