NK Baduk Software to Hit Seoul

Korea Times
9/6/2006
Kim Tae-gyu

Starting today, a South Korean venture start-up will market a North Korean paduk computer game, Silver Star 2006, here that is arguably the most advanced program for paduk, also known as go.

ForOneBiz yesterday announced the scheme to launch Silver Star 2006 that has won the FOST Cup, the annual computer paduk championship participated in by global contenders, for the past three consecutive years.

“In June, we reached an agreement with the North’s Samcholli General Corp. to debut Silver Star 2006 here,” ForOneBiz chief executive officer Kim Byung-su said.

“We inked a commission-based deal, not the conventional lump sum-based ones. We will take roughly 90 percent of sales income while the remaining 10 percent will go to Samcholli,” he added.

The price of the program, which can be downloaded at the Web site of ForOneBiz (www.i-silverstar.com) or ordered by calling (02) 2115-6035, is 33,000 won ($34.5).

The Silver Star series, called Unbyol in Korean, was developed by the North’s state-run Korea Computer Center in the 1990s. Experts say it has the most outstanding algorithm for baduk.

“We plan to improve Silver Star 2006 further by cooperating with North Korea. It will work because the North has a competitive edge in software while the South today leads the world in offline baduk techniques,” Kim said.

This is not the first time for North Korean software to go on sale in the South.

Earlier in March, the Seoul-headquartered BH Partners began selling the Speed-K4.0, a computer program developed by the North Korean agency, at its Web site (www.bhpartners.co.kr).

People can download the input software, which helps them easily type in sentences from a word processor or e-mail, at 5,500 won.

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