Korean mobile game industry exemplifies opportunities

I’m in Seoul for a couple of days basically as a long layover on my way back to Seattle from visiting our office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. One of the best benefits of traveling internationally is the opportunity to observe patterns away from my usual routine in the US.  It allows me to do some creative thinking.

Here in Korea, all the entrepreneurs have been re-energized by the mobile game industry. With the excellent wireless coverage, fast growing mobile game platforms like Kakao, and the carrier payment system, the recipe has been ripe for making serious money for game developers.  Kakao has more than 30 million users for just its game platform with more than 400 million game downloads. Access to such a large potential market has inspired small and mid-size companies to come up with the next popular mobile game. Recently, a three-person team introduced Dragon Flight on Kakao and found overnight success. In fact, six out of the top ten games on Kakao were developed by small and mid-size companies.

The integration of mobile games with social networks will continue drive continued rapid growth. In the US, Candy Crush on Facebook is such an example.  In the Korean and Japanese markets, there is another important factor into the broader adoption of mobile games and affiliated revenue opportunities. The mobile network carriers here offer simple payment systems as part of its billing process, thereby avoiding the need to put credit card information during purchase. This entices buyers, especially youths, to buy game products easily.

Anytime such a rich market place is developed advertisers will soon follow. Initially, these game platform advertising were targeted at just game developers. But now KaKao, for example, is attracting big consumer brands trying to reach its audience. Moving forward, the avalanche of mobile advertising is going to be a huge disruptor within the marketing industry, a trend that is already well on its way in Korea and getting going in the US.

The mobile trends in the Korean and Japanese markets give good insights to those looking for innovative opportunities in North America and Europe.