The Baltic Explorers project organized a weeklong trade mission to South Korea in August‒September 2022. The aim of the trade mission was to help Baltic game companies to create personal connections to South Korea and open discussion and business collaboration in the area. South Korea is ranked the 4th in the world by revenues created by the game industry and it has been said to be the gate to Asian game market (Newzoo 2022).
The trade mission had nine participants from eight companies. Participant companies were from three Baltic Explorers partner countries: Finland, Sweden and Estonia. All the companies had at least one game project they were showcasing (Video 1).
Studio visits in Seoul and Pangyo
During the first two days of the trade mission participants visited 7 game companies in Seoul and Pangyo. Pangyo is known as the “Silicon Valley” of Korea and is the homebase of multiple major Korean game companies. The studio visits were arranged in collaboration with two game industry experts working currently in Finland, Solip Park and Chris Hong. Both also helped with translations and connection making before, during and after the trade mission.
Companies visited included game developers and publishers like Kakao Games (Image 1), Neowiz, CFK and Megazone Cloud. And game related service providers (localization, QA, cloud services etc.) like ADOP and Latis Global. usan Indie Connect Festival 2022
Busan Indie Connect Festival 2022
Busan Indie Connect Festival (BIC) was held at the Busan Port International Exhibition and Convention Center from the 1st to the 4th of September. During the four event days 15,973 people visited the venue. The event consisted of two parts. First two days the exhibition and conference were only open for game industry professionals and concentrated on business and game development. The last two days the exhibition and conference were aimed for the consumers. BIC concentrated on showcasing indie games and had 162 games from 23 countries. (BIC Festival Organizing Committee 2022.)
One of the participant teams, Flaimbait from Sweden, had their own booth in the Indie area and others shared the Baltic Explorers booth. As the event was mainly in Korean, the participants were provided with translators to help trough out the event and meetings.
Most of the meetings during BIC were reserved by the companies themselves or happened ad-hoc at the booth (Image 2). With the project team connections, companies like Shin-A Group and Com2us were specially invited to visit the booth. Also, many of the companies that were visited previously the same week in Seoul Capital area took part in BIC and continued discussions with participants during the event. Collaboration with the BIC organizers was also valuable, they visited with the event judges and gave valuable feedback to the companies about their games.
According to the participant feedback the South Korean trade mission was a success! A month after the trip there are two confirmed collaboration deals and multiple ongoing discussions. Especially the contacts made to South Korean game publishers were appreciated by the participants.
Ria Gynther works as a RDI Specialist at the LAB University of Applied Sciences and as a Project Manager in the Baltic Explorers Project.
BIC Festival Organizing Committee. 2022. 부산인디커넥트페스티벌 2022’, 3년 만의 오프라인 전면 개방과 함께 성황리 폐막. Cited 12 Oct 2022. Available at https://bicfest.org/boards/rpb/ids/10029
Newzoo. 2022. Key Insights into South Korean Gamers. Newzoo Gamer Insights Report. Cited 12 Oct 2022. Available at https://newzoo.com/insights/trend-reports/key-insights-into-south-korean-gamers-newzoo-gamer-insights-report
Video 1. Baltic Explorers. 2022. BE BIC Trailer. YouTube. Cited 14 Oct 2022. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EX-eCaWsnso
Link 1. Baltic Explorers. 2020. Project. Cited 14 Jun 2022. Available at https://balticexplorers.eu/