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Xbox Struggles With Lackluster Sales In Korea 45

Thanks to the Korea Herald for its article outlining the disappointing performance of Microsoft's Xbox compared to the PlayStation 2 in South Korea. The article notes: "Just a year ago, Microsoft Korea, a unit of U.S.-based software giant Microsoft Corp., envisioned a bright future for its spiffy Xbox video game console... [they] initially aimed to sell 150,000 units during the first year. However, sales have fallen far short of this target at just 60,000 units." In comparison, "The Korean market has so far snapped up 600,000 PlayStation 2 game consoles since its debut 22 months ago." The piece attributes Microsoft's problems to the Xbox lacking "killer titles that instantly grab the attention - and the pockets - of game lovers", but also notes that "some critics attribute the glaring failure of Xbox on the Korean market to Microsoft Korea's poorly managed marketing."
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Xbox Struggles With Lackluster Sales In Korea

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @09:48PM (#7800041)
    Microsoft still hasn't released that M*A*S*H* game for the X-Box.
    • Didn't the Atari 2600 version have you playing a blocky version of the board game "Operation" after you picked up all the moving pixels off the battlefield? :P
    • I think you guys are underestimating the power that Korea holds in game industry, 1/3 of world's sales for StarCraft was from Korea..
      now i realize we are considered SC Freaks..but whatever...
      They have failed to have launch X-Box Live w/ the X-Box itself..that's where I believe they have failed since..
      X-Box Live itself is fairly successful..
      They should seriously release more killer titles..
  • As the article says- it would be amazing if the Xbox was not a success in Korea, due to their huge broadband penetration. (Really- why do we use the word 'penetration' here?)

    From the article, it was difficult to determine if Xbox Live is already up and running in Korea- I think 'yes' (with 4,000 subscribers).

    I wonder how much the service costs in comparison to the U.S.- is it the equivalent of $50?

    Do they like games where you fly airplanes, and shoot at each other? Or tennis? Do they know the concept
    • There's Starcraft Ghost that would be really cool for them, but since it comes out on the PS2 also, the Xbox version would need some nefty features (Level downloads with Live? Way better graphics maybe?) to sell boxes.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The Live pack with 12 months of access and the headset goes for 60,000won, which is roughly $50.

      Right now there's a bundle pack which has the system, Ghost Recon: Island Thunder and Splinter Cell, plus two months of Live service for 229,000won. (About $192)

      The best deal is in Japan, though, where it's doing just as poorly. System, one additional controller, DVD kit, Halo and Project Gotham 2, plus two months of Live service - all for 19,800yen. (About $184)

      The only strong selling point for the Xbox here
      • "The best deal is in Japan, though, where it's doing just as poorly"

        Pricewise, true, but the amazing dearth of games released for the Japanese system mean that you're essentially buying an expensive paperweight. Sure, there are a few of the top games available here in Japan, but 70% or so of the highly reviewed XBox titles have not been released in Japan. That's why I have an American XBox instead.
        • but 70% or so of the highly reviewed XBox titles have not been released in Japan. That's why I have an American XBox instead.

          True, that's why I haven't bought one in Korea (I'm the AC who posted the parent to your comment) and won't buy one when I'm in Japan next month. I'd like to set one up as a retro-gaming machine, but still want to be able to play on Live. The modchips are switchable to allow play on Live, but since most of the Live games are US releases, I'd need a US machine and US original games.

    • What Microsoft really needs (god I'm giving them good suggestions) is to get Ragnarok Online [] on the XBox, and the XBox live, and then they would have it made.

      A very popular game in Korea, and other parts of the world. Hell, I'd buy an XBox just to play Ragnarok Online if I lived in Korea. ;)
    • I hope you're not confusing North Korea with South Korea with the missile joke... =(

      It's kind of weird that Xbox ISN'T succeeding in S. Korea... but it really needs more strategy games, more "hardcore" pc games... and another shot in the arm would be True Fantasy Online.

      Also, localisation/translations of games would be another big help =p
  • Bad Timing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by superpulpsicle ( 533373 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @10:06PM (#7800170)
    Back in 1990s Microsoft have numerous opportunities to jump deep into the gaming market. Specifically during the transition from 16bit (genesis/SNES) to 32 (PS1). I still have an issue somewhere of game informer with Gates on the cover. There was so much talk about M$ diving into gaming, but no consoles ever panned out accept an occasional release of age of empires.

    They should have gone into the market and dominated then. Not now... with a scene packed with competitors especially sony the 8000 ton godzilla.... who was really just an 800 pound gorilla at one time.
    • Re:Bad Timing (Score:3, Interesting)

      by August_zero ( 654282 )
      He was on the cover of "next Generation" back in 96(90% sure it was summer of 96)). I found the issue when I visited my parents a few months back, and read some of the old articles.

      MS's stance on the gaming market at the time was that PCs would eventually take it over, or at least grab a very large portion of the pie. Gates felt that the mature, adult gamer would be more interested in the performance that a high end PC that could be upgraded et cetera would give them as opposed to a console that was thrown
    • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @10:46PM (#7800376)
      They should have gone into the market and dominated then. Not now... with a scene packed with competitors especially sony the 8000 ton godzilla

      Godzilla is not welcome in Korea. It is the territory of Yongary []
    • Wait... Timeout here. You came on slashdot of all places and actually tried to encourage Microsoft into domination a perfectly undominated market? Where do you think you are? What target audience on slashdot are you trying to get to with a post like that?

      "YA, it would have been soo(!) much better if mircosoft would have monopolized the gaming market 8 years ago, rather than throw GOBBS of money at it today, to try and produce the same effect!"

    • Because those guys over at Nintendo [] sure as hell never really had marketshare. They only made Gameboy long enough for kids to get the hang of a d-pad and buttons, so that they'be be ready for the Playstation controller.

      There never is a vacuum in the video game power, except for that time in 1983 when Atari let the market down. You don't just waltz in and take the reins, you work your way into the market with a product that is chosen by consumers!
  • whats the deal??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MeThOdXxX ( 687526 )
    This may be a little off-topic but who cares? I went out last night and finally bought a X box console, mainly because of the X box live feature. After getting home and checking out the 2 free games that comes with it, Star Wars and Tetris World, I was pretty excited because the gameplay and graphics were great(One could expect nothing less from Microsoft)although Star Wars and Tetris World aren't my kind of games. After playing for a little while I decided to go out and rent a couple of games. My first
    • by Anonymous Coward
      My first stop was at Movie Gallery, which to my disappointment there were hardly any games available, in fact there were nearly 3 to 4 PS2 games for every one X box game.
      Hilarious.....and +2 "Interesting" to boot. Keep up the good work.
  • Not just the xbox... (Score:3, Informative)

    by wrinkledshirt ( 228541 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @11:38PM (#7800601) Homepage
    I don't think it's necessarily a case of the XBox not penetrating the market because it's Microsoft.

    Right now pretty much all the consoles take a backseat to PC games. Korea is very much a hotbed for RTS and MMORPG games. On the video game channels, they've been trying to bring in some more head-to-head deathmatch leagues using Halo and Smackdown (and some other Xbox and Playstation titles, I think, as well as some Counterstrike and Navy Seals), but those tend to fall under the category of more-fun-to-play-than-watch. Surprisingly enough, watching the Starcraft fights are entertaining, just because they've gotten SO good at producing and rushing and protecting the rush on the various RTS titles, and the commentators are pretty good at moving around in god-mode to wherever the best skirmishes are. Anyhow, that coverage has led to constant promotion of the PC platform and the games that are good for it.
    • I have to agree with you there. I mean, Korea has more broadband subscribers than america. Not in a percentage either, straight up number of accounts. that's staggering.

      A huge slice of their society participates in gaming - much more than just about anywhere else, except perhaps japan.

      That said, think for a second, the ps2 in almost 2 years managed 600k sales. the same ps2 that's sold what? they say like 50m in the states.

      clearly korea just isn't a very big console market.

      that said, showing up late,
  • by DrEldarion ( 114072 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [0791uhcsm]> on Wednesday December 24, 2003 @12:05AM (#7800725)
    Microsoft? Poor marketing? Does... not... compute...
  • Perhaps they should try releasing Lineage for it, or they could save development costs by just making it legal for people to mod their Xbox so they can run it themselves.

  • Right? It's too bad that there are so many people on Slashdot that feel the need to bash a decent platform. Sagging sales in Asia haven't hurt the Xbox for me. In fact this Xmas there are more games for me to choose and I can't get my wife off Rainbow 6 on Live.
  • by Kris_J ( 10111 ) * on Wednesday December 24, 2003 @05:05AM (#7801645) Homepage Journal
    Are we going to have a story for the sales data of every console for every country now? I heard it's not big in Mesopotamia, when's that story going to be posted?
  • Korean games market in "closer to Japan than the US" shocker!

    The PS2 outsells the XBox roughly 10 to 1 worldwide, why shouldn't it do so in Korea? They may have had high expectations, but those expectations were frankly unrealistic.
    • The Japanese and Korean markets are actually very different.

      PC gaming, especially with regards to RTS games, is very big in Korea and so is online play.

      • Amen. Here in Japan, PC gaming has traditionally been the field of the uberdorks, and has quite a bit of stigma attached to it. Early broadband penetration in Korea has resulted in the opposite happening. Favored games also differ greatly, with RTS being a minor subgenre in Japan, while in Korea...well, you know.
      • PC gaming, especially with regards to RTS games, is very big in Korea and so is online play.

        Right. And if you already have a nice PC that you use for gaming, why are you going to go out and buy another, feature-cut PC, which is much less powerful and more restricted than the one you already have?

        • Right. And if you already have a nice PC that you use for gaming, why are you going to go out and buy another, feature-cut PC, which is much less powerful and more restricted than the one you already have?

          What, you mean just like how people in the West can enjoy playing on PC's AND consoles?

  • Just out of curiosity, does anyone who is currently living abroad or know first hand whether or not the XBOX is viewed as the bastard console system of the Asian-based market? I mean, Japan has been pumping out consoles for nearly two decades now, and they've been doing a hell of a job at it, so maybe XBOX is just seen by the "non-Western" world just as the French see our wine? Maybe it has sold poorly in Korea just because it seems laughable that the MS juggernaut is trying to cash in on something that has
    • I can't speak for all of Asia, but the general view in Japan before the XBox came out was caution. People weren't dogging the system, but there weren't many fanboys either. People didn't know what to expect. However, when it came out, Microsoft got hit by a 1-2 punch. First, the XBox is huge. I own one, and love it, but I actually remember, before buying it, calculating where in my room I would have space for it. Admittedly, my apartment was so small even Japanese were surprised, but in a market where

    [quote]After the ugliness of World War II, Korea banned many Japanese imports. The result? No Nintendos. No Segas. No PlayStation or PlayStation 2. In this unique space, the PC was it. It became the de-facto, be-all and end-all of serious gaming platforms. [/quote]

    Koreans don't take consoles seriously.
  • ... is that they're too busy playing WarCraft III.

    No, seriously. There's a level 50 player on the Kalimdor (Asia) ladder. US ladders are at something like 35. Koreans are known Blizzard fanatics. I believe there's a paid WarCraft III tournament that's happening in Korea either soon or recently.

    Hmmm.... that still sounds like a troll. Oh well.
  • ... enough of the Anime-style titles that are ubiquitous to Japan?

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito