Nintendo and Activision have submitted Wii games to the Korean Game Ratings Board.
The Wii has been a hit in Japan, Europe, Australia, the Americas, and now it may soon be hitting the Korean market as well.
Nintendo has applied to the Korean Game Ratings Board for Wii Sports and Wii Play, two titles that have been the cornerstone of the Wii's sales success. Adding fuel to the fire is the news that third party publisher Activision has also received ratings for two titles of their own which were unspecified.
The Korea Times speculated that this was a strong sign that Nintendo was planning to launch the Wii sometime before Children's Day, a holiday that South Korea celebrates on May 5. Nintendo of Korea, however, declined to comment, with public relations official Kim Sang-yean stating, "we will make an official announcement once we are all ready."
However, Nintendo will face ongoing piracy issues when the console launches in that market, as they already do with the Nintendo DS. The Korea Times reports that pirated copies of DS software titles are widespread, the legitimate sales of which are the principle way game companies earn profit. They point out that even without the Wii officially released in the country, many game stores are already selling imported versions of the console with special chips installed that allow the play of pirated game discs.
Last month, Nintendo of Korea released a statement regarding the effect that piracy was having. "Korea is an important market for Nintendo, and Internet piracy is seriously affecting the growth of the video game industry in the country," they said. "The unprecedented momentum enjoyed by Nintendo DS and Wii makes Nintendo an attractive target for counterfeiters. We estimate that in 2007, Nintendo, together with its publishers and developers, suffered nearly $975 million worldwide in lost sales as a result of piracy."