Korean DS launches in early 2007; Korean Wii in late 2007.
Back in July, Nintendo opened a new Korean branch
with the assumption that it would be used to better market and distribute their games and game hardware. It looks like Nintendo will be doing just that, as they've announced they will be bringing Korean-language versions of the DS and Wii to the country next year.
First up will be the Korean Nintendo DS on January 18. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata knows that Korea's game market is dominated by online games, so the DS will be a tougher sell than it has been in Japan or North America. He likens it to "selling women's cosmetics to men." It will probably be as difficult when Nintendo releases the Korean Wii before 2007 runs out.
Nintendo Korea will be doing more than releasing Nintendo games and hardware, however. "We plan to actively support Korean game software developers who have great expertise in developing online games and support their advances into foreign markets," said Iwata. Nintendo will need the local help if it wants to create its own "entertainment culture."
Sony and Microsoft have already launched their next-gen systems into the very tech-heavy Korean market, but as with other regions of the world Nintendo doesn't think of them as direct competition. Said Iwata, "Nintendo's rivals are not other companies, but the indifference of the customers."