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Korean online games market to exceed $1.7b by 2009

Strong games culture and prevalence of internet access throughout the region to contribute to growth

South Korea's online games market in will exceed USD 1.7 billion by 2009, driven by new releases and a widespread gaming culture, according to a report by Pearl Research.

The consulting firm's "Games Market in Korea" study, says that 80 per cent of South Korean households are connected to the internet. 67 per cent of those between the ages of 20-30 paid for online content, with 91 per cent buying music and the 39 per cent purchasing community and avatar items for online services.

This has been spurred on by the success of large game portals in the region that provide access to a wide selection of games. The top portals can attract between 500,000 to 1 million unique visitors every day and more than 10 million Korean adults visit such sites every month, according to the report.

However, the report does point out that the region's games industry faces challenges, such as intense domestic competition, the prevalence of derivative titles, rising development costs and challenges in expanding overseas.

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James Lee