KYOTO― Nintendo will move aggressively into the Korean game market in 2007, releasing its first-ever Korean-language game console next month. At a press conference for Korean reporters at the company’s headquarters on Thursday, Nintendo President Iwata Satoru said that the company is planning a Korean language version of its portable console the DS Lite on Jan. 18 and continuing localization of future products.
▶ Nintendo President Iwata Satoru
The DS Lite is a slim, lightweight dual-screen handheld game console with a touch screen, an upgraded version of the popular original Nintendo DS, which sold 6 million units in 14 months after its release.
Until now, limited Nintendo products were sold through an agent in Korea and were only available in Japanese. Nintendo invested 25 billion won ($26.9 million) and established a local office in July, but sales of Nintendo products only take up a fraction of the game market.
Industry analysts point out that a Korean-language DS Lite will not have an immediate impact on the local market, especially because Nintendo’s educational games, which drove DS sales in Japan, are already being played on mobile phones and portable media players.
Mr. Iwata said that he feels Nintendo will do well in Korea as it did in the U.S. and Europe, but that he feels like he is “selling women’s cosmetics to men,” because online games dominate the local market.
Instead of competing with online games, Nintendo wants to create a new entertainment culture, he said.
▶ said his company will release a Korean-language DS Lite (right) Jan. 18. Provided by the company
Nintendo’s Wii console, which is available in Japan and the U.S., is not yet available in Korea. Mr. Iwata said that the Korean-language version of the Wii will be available late next year. “We will begin sales after localization is complete,” he said. “We plan to actively support Korean game software developers who have great expertise in developing online games and support their advances into foreign markets.” Nintendo has just begun developing games with the Korean game company Nexon.
Regarding Nintendo’s relationship with Sony and Microsoft, Mr. Iwata said that he did not feel in competition with them, because each has different goals. “Nintendo’s rivals are not other companies, but the indifference of the customers,” he said.
Sony, maker of the PlayStation console series, just released its PlayStation 3. Microsoft’s Xbox360 was released in the U.S. last year and in Korea early this year.
by Shim Jae-woo,Wohn Dong-hee for JoongAng Daily