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Make mine a Louis Vuitton avatar, say Japanese gamers

Avatars, those graphical representations of oneself, are less popular with Korean gamers than they were, but they are growing in Japan, writes Yoonjeong Yoo from ZDNet Korea, a sister site to

It is because the community aspect of gaming is more important in Japan than South Korea.

Japanese online game portal NHN Hangame last year found that 80 percent of its $46 million (U.S.) came from avatar sales. As a result, it now has 40 out of 320 employees dedicated out avatar development. 30,000 users make avatar purchases in a given month.

The most popular and preferred avatars are the ones with characters containing luxury brand names like Louis Vuitton and characters related to Disney or Bandai channels, affiliated sporting brand names like Nike. These brand avatars can cost up to ten times the amount of regular avatars.

South Korea and Japan are often at the vanguard of online gaming. The two countries sport some of the fastest networks in the world and many games were originally developed in the countries.

there is more here on the subject.