S. Korea to Get Microsoft Online GamingPublished September 28, 2003 by OCR Editor
SEOUL, South Korea - Microsoft Corp. announced last Tuesday it would launch the new Xbox online game service in South Korea next month.
Apparently, the company hopes to benefit from the country's high-speed Internet penetration, which is the highest in the world. Xbox Live, which allows several gamers to play together via the Internet, provides Microsoft a chance to take on rival Sony Corp. and its hugely successful Playstation 2.
Xbox Live is already available in the United States, Japan and some European countries.
Microsoft's announcement comes a week after the International Telecommunication Union said, that up to 70 percent of all South Korean households have high-speed broadband connections.
The U.N. agency also said that cybercafes where students play online games are widely prevalent.
More than 10 million of the world's 63 million high-speed users are in South Korea alone, a rate of 21.3 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants. Hong Kong is in the second place with 14.9 percent and Canada is in the third with 11.2 percent.
Koreans also widely use the Internet to play Playstation 2, which can be hooked on to the Web.
Xbox, the predecessor of Xbox Live, failed to do well in South Korea, mainly because of a lack of Korean language game titles and ignorance of local customers' demands.
Yonhap news agency quoted industry figures as showing only 30,000 to 40,000 Xbox units sold so far compared with PlayStation 2's 300,000 to 400,000 units. Microsoft's Korean unit declined to confirm the statistics.