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Korea OACS Co., Ltd. (한국오크스) was a South Korean industrial automation manufacturer and video game distributor, notable for being the official distributor of the Sega Mark III in Korea.
Korea OACS were established in 1987 as a joint venture between OACS Onoda Engineering (70%) and Korean shareholders (30%) to design and sell office and factory automation systems for cement makers. OACS (Onada Computer System) were a subsidiary of Onoda Cement, an early pioneer in industrial information systems, having installed Japan's first mainframe computer in the private sector in 1959 under the leadership of Noburo Minamisawa.
OACS Mark III
Korea OACS president Hae-il Kim had previously ran a monthly computer and central computing institute, which may explain the company's decision to enter the consumer market and start marketing the Sega Mark III as a Home Computer in November 1988. Korea OACS seems to have partnered with Samsung for this project, with early Mark III software manuals having both companies contact details printed on the back, with Samsung handling sales. As Samsung was also a large manufacturer it seems likely that Korea OACS would have used them to produce the made in Korea OACS Mark III hardware and software too.
The Korean 8-bit market was already dominated by MSX and Samsung's [wikipedia:SPC-1000|SPC-1000] line of home computers. It launched without the SK-1100 keyboard required to turn it into a computer, which put it at odds with the marketing aimed at computer users. As a result the OACS Mark III struggled to sell, and is an extremely rare console today. It's unclear if the keyboard promised for 1989 was ever released.
In April 1989 Samsung directly released the Gam*Boy, a localised version of the Master System. With Samsung marketing it as a pure games console this release performed far better. Korea OACS continued to publish software, now labelled as compatible with Mark III / Gam*Boy.
Samsung would gradually publish more and more software themselves, with Korea OACS eventually fading away, their last accounts getting filed in the early 1990s. The last releases to feature the Korea OACS name were a dozen older games re-released by HiCom sometime after the release of the Gam*Boy II (Master System II), which is featured on the back covers. Samsung had used HiCom as the exclusive distributor for both the Mark III and Gam*Boy.
- https://www.jobkorea.co.kr/company/42852347 (Wayback Machine: 2021-03-21 11:58)
- http://m.mk.co.kr/onews/1987/882518 (archive.today)
- http://museum.ipsj.or.jp/en/pioneer/minami.html (Wayback Machine: 2020-01-03 10:02)
- http://m.mk.co.kr/onews/1988/958976 (archive.today)
- http://www.koreabr.com/cm/CMSRH01S1.do?f=g&kedcd=MDAwMDAwODQ2OA&lang=en&signal=1616285157081 (archive.today)