Report from Korea: the rapid rise of Unity’s star in mobile development
Hi, my name is Dustin Lee and I’m a product evangelist at the Unity office in Seoul. Unity is experiencing tremendous growth in Korea, especially among mobile developers. I’d like to give the wider Unity community a glimpse of what we’re seeing here in mobile development.
Let’s start with some numbers—big numbers. It’s forecasted that in 2013 the market will increase by 470%, from 231.8M USD in 2012 to 1090.9M USD in 2013.
Fueling this growth in a massive way is Kakao Talk, a mobile messaging service that last year expanded its platform to include social games.
Now, currently in South Korea, 90% of mobile devices are running on the Android OS. And 97% of mobile users have Kakao on their phone. What Kakao does is it provides a social graph API for the games it hosts, so that players can communicate with friends in their Kakao network: pass on rewards, invites, and points, and compete against them and compare scores. Currently if you log onto Google Play Korea, almost all the top rated/selling apps are ones designed to integrate with Kakao’s ubiquitous platform. In terms of revenue ranking by country, South Korea holds the number 2 spot on Google Play, after Japan and before the U.S.
So where’s Unity in all this mobile social gaming frenzy? Well, pretty much everywhere!
Kakao has released 120 games to date and up to 40% of those are made with Unity! The top 5 games on Google Play are made with Unity and it’s been estimated by some Korean press that the No. 1 game is making up to 1M USD per day. So there is a lot of potential financial success to be won by our customers.
Based on customer interviews we have conducted we know that our user base is wide but all of them are experiencing a new level of freedom and fun by creating with Unity. We have server developers who enjoy the smooth experience of client-side programming with Unity; MMORPG Client developers who love the speed and efficiency it offers for mobile development, and artists who learned programming and games development by using Unity. The common reasons they chose Unity include multi-platform support, followed by ease of use and a fast development cycle.
A universal story
We just wrapped up our first Unite Korea regional conference (which grew out of the “bootcamp” we held last year) and there is much excitement and positive feeling for Unity from the Korean development Community. The Unity “story” is universal. Just like in so many other regions, we have passionate developers in Korea who want to break into the huge mobile market. And when they are introduced to Unity and start playing around with it, they are struck by its incredible ease of use, by the speed with which they can create their content, and by the possibilities that suddenly open up for them. That’s powerful!