Legacy PC titles showed strong performances in 2019 and publishers are likely to continue focusing on legacy IPs in 2020, but COVID-19 has seen PC café businesses suffer, marketing efforts decrease, and gameplay hours decrease.
Total consumer spend within the Korean PC online gaming market was KRW 2,367 billion ($2.06billion) in 2019, representing an increase of 3.9% year-over-year. In 2018, many major PC games publishers were focused on mobile games development and so the segment declined, but in 2019, most PC games resisted decay and were not threatened by strong new mobile offerings.
- Legacy PC titles invigorated the PC games segment in 2019 with strong performances: Nexon’s 16-year old title Kartrider added a new game mode whilst a remastered version of Lineage inspired lapsed veterans to return
- We expect publishers to continue to focus on legacy IPs in 2020: there is reduced risk versus launching new PC titles, and small in-game events will likely be introduced surrounding occasional content updates
- PC cafe business suffers due to COVID-19: PC cafes are essential to the Korean PC games market, and have seen a weekly decline of 10% in gameplay hours since the end of February
- COVID-19 quarantine policies are expected to increase at-home gameplay hours, but the importance of the Korean PC cafe culture and a lack of marketing efforts in the PC games space indicate a potential market decline in the coming months
- Mobile games spending could be triggered instead
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