It’s Time for Devs to get Serious about Korean Language Support in Steam Games
Korea Constitutes 2.1% of all Steam traffic, and yet only 665 games support the Korean Language
Korea is a strange market for Western developers to penetrate. On the one hand, enthusiasm for PC staples like CS:GO, Overwatch, and DotA are thoroughly represented with top-tier Korean teams in E-Sports competitions worldwide. And yet when it comes to platforms such as Mobile, Steam, and GoG, breaking through the noise to get Korean users on board with a game can be difficult for so many reasons.
Take Valve’s Steam platform for example. For a while, the fate of Steam in Korea was tenuous. In 2013 the Korea government was close to banning the service as a whole because it was initially deemed too difficult to go through the immense Steam library in order to check the games against Korea’s censorship laws.
The hurdle was overcome, however, and Korea is currently sitting on 2.1% of Steam’s overall traffic. Korean gamers on the whole, therefore, are just below France in Steam download traffic. It’s a mind-blowing number considering that, out of more than 13,500 registered games on steam, only 705 of those thousands natively support Korean compared to 3600 games with French support.
So what accounts for the disparity in language support versus download traffic? Well, influential E-Sports titles such as Dota 2, CS:Go, and Team Fortress 2 are consistently in Korea’s top 10 for Steam downloads. But there are some surprises such as Grand Theft Auto V, and Warframe. What shouldn’t be a surprise however is that nearly every game in the top 10 and 20 of Korea’s Steam rankings have Korean language support.
With a similar population and steam traffic usage as France, it’s a shame that Korea has 5X less language support. Korean gamers are familiar with the Steam platform despite so little language support. You HAVE to have Steam if you want to play DotA 2 from home, for instance
Also not to be forgotten is that VR is slated to be a powerhouse world wide, with Vive and Steam VR quickly becoming the preferred headset choice. VR may have had lackluster showings when it came to actual software, but uptake of the devices was better than the gloomy reports would show: VR headset sales actually roughly match the first year sales of the 1st generation iPhone. As we previously showed, at Korea’s G-Star game conference, VR took up 1/3rd of the exhibition space showing a huge push here in terms of development and expectations.
It’s time developers stop ig