[NX] History Lesson 1: Nexon’s Influence on Gaming

It may be because I work in game development, or maybe it’s because my online gaming career is as old as online gaming itself, but I recognize and appreciate the hard work that Nexon puts into their games all over the world and their influence on online gaming. Despite the belief of many that Nexon has had a small influence on gaming, the fact is that the entire online game world would not be where we are today if it weren’t for Nexon, especially not the free-to-play games.

In 1996 Nexon released the world’s first MMORPG, Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds, Nexus TK for short and known as Baram in Korea. Yes, the world’s FIRST. As in, there were no MMORPGs before it.  Developed by Nexon from 1994 to 1996. Released in Korea in 1996 and in America in 1998. So for all of you who come to me with a long list of things that Nexon has “copied” from other companies, I say to you that every other MMORPG developer “copied” Nexon. Nexus TK is free-to-play with a pay-to-play option with pay-to-play becoming mandatory for leveling above 49. The North America service of the game was being published by Nexon Corp. until Nexon pulled out of North America in 2005, Nexon Corp. changed its name to Kru Interactive, became independent and continued service of Nexus TK to this day. Since then, of course, Nexon has reentered the North American market, but did reclaim publishing rights of Nexus TK in North America. Nexon also released Dark Ages in Korea in 1998 and in North America in 1999.

Shattered Galaxy Screenshot

In 2001, Nexon released the world’s first real-time strategy online game. It is known as Tactical Commanders in Korea and Shattered Galaxy in North America. Once again, yes, I said THE WORLD’S FIRST.

In 2002 the online gaming world would once again be changed forever, when Nexon announced the released of the bomberman-style Crazy Arcade, now known as PopTag! in North America. Crazy Arcade would be released using a new business model. A business model that attracted heaps of controversy

Crazy Arcade Logo

and negativity from the wider gaming community. It’s the free-to-play with microtransactions business model. Crazy Arcade launched in Korea in June 2002 as the world’s first free-to-play online game. The idea of games being free was bashed by the majority of the gaming world until people started seeing the success of Crazy Arcade, and other Nexon games that were being released soon after. Crazy Arcade has a playerbase of over 60 million and is still live today in Korea. The game has recently been released in North America as PopTag! under Nexon America.

In 2003 the world’s first 2D side-scrolling online game, MapleStory was first introduced to the world. Now, the world’s largest 2D adventure game, MapleStory was brought to North America in 2005, after Nexon pulled out of North America, by an English-speaking team at Korea-based Wizet. This English service of MapleStory was named as Global MapleStory in order to service any area of the world that did not already have a localized service of the game.

MapleStory Logo

By Global MapleStory’s official launch, the team changed their name to NXGames and became the North American publishing arm of the Nexon Corp. NXGames did not yet have an office in North America, but instead operated remotely out of Korea. Following jaw-dropping growth of MapleStory in Global markets, having reached 3,000,000 players in less than a year, NXGames changed its name to Nexon America in November 2006 and launched its game portal. In 2007 Nexon America set up an office in North America and Nexon’s North American branch was officially founded in September 2007. Nexon America became North America’s first publisher of free-to-play titles. Currently MapleStory is the world’s most popular side-scrolling game with over 95 million players worldwide.

Okay, what do you think of when I say… “world’s most popular online game”? World of Warcraft? No. Starcraft? Nuh uhh. A game from the Counter-Strike series? Never. RuneScape? lolno. Let me give you the stats.

World of Warcraft: 11.5 million players
Starcraft: 11 million players
Counter-Strike Source: 2.3 million players
Kart Rider: 230 million players
Dungeon Fighter Online (Dungeon & Fighter in Korea): 200 million players

Those games that people call “the most popular” are far from it. Kart Rider and Dungeon Fighter are the world’s two most popular online games.

Kart Rider was released in Korea in June 2004 as the world’s first online racing game. Over 230 million people play Kart Rider worldwide, vast majority of which play through the Chinese servers. With over 30 million players in Korea alone, it is estimated that one third of the Korean population

Current Logo of Kart Rider Korea

have played Kart Rider actively at some point in the past. Kart Rider is the national game of Korea and is the world’s most popular online game. Kart Rider was launch into open beta in North America in 2007, but was never officially launched.

Dungeon Fighter Online, Dungeon & Fighter in Korea, actually wasn’t developed by Nexon, but by Neople, which was, at the time, an independent studio. Nexon published the game which was the world’s first 3D side-scrolling online game.

Dungeon Fighter Logo

It was after Dungeon Fighter’s overwhelming Asian success that Nexon acquired Neople, and Neople became an internal development studio of Nexon Corp. Dungeon Fighter Online has over 200 million players worldwide, with a world record 2 million concurrent users in China. Dungeon Fighter is published in North America by Nexon America since June 2010.

Nexon’s DevCat studio has developed the world’s first physics based action online game, Vindictus, or Mabinogi Heroes in Korea.Vindictus

Vindictus Logo

was released in Korea in January 2010 and already become a force to be reckoned with in the online gaming world. The game is currently in open beta in North America through Nexon America as the one of the most anticipated online games of all time.

Let’s recap, shall we.

The world’s first MMORPG
The world’s first MMORTS
The world’s first free-to-play MMO
The world’s first 2D side-scrolling MMORPG
North America’s first publisher of free-to-play titles
The world’s first online racing game
The world’s first 3D side-scrolling MMORPG
The world’s first physics based action online game

Can you say huge influence on online gaming? I never want to hear anyone say “without Nexon we would be right where we are today” again. If I do, then I’ll direct them here. Next history lesson coming soon.

Posted on September 26, 2010, in devCat Studio, Dungeon Fighter, Global MapleStory, History Lesson, International MapleStory, International Nexon, Kart Rider, Nexon America, Pop Tag!, Vinductus/Mabinogi Heroes. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. o.O I didnt know that.
    I might stop insulting nexon whenever there are bugs ;D

  2. nexon might have been the first to publish the world’s first 2D side-scrolling online game (AKA maplestory), but wizet is the one who actually invented it.
    nevertheless, being first to publish X and Y doesnt resolve them from having lousy customer support.

    • I though wizet just made the music.
      It all says composed by wizet and other than that they aren’t really mentioned…

      Oh, there is Cody.

      • No. Wizet originally developed MapleStory. But IMO, Nexon has done more for MapleStory in its publishing than Wizet has done for the developing. Sure, without Wizet there would be no MapleStory, but without Nexon, there would be no Global MapleStory and MapleStory probably wouldn’t have 95 million players worldwide.

  3. what does GAME PORTAL mean .. it nexon america launched their game portal in 2006 …
    so that is after the release in north america in 2005 .. and in that time 3milion people were playing it, so if game portal means for everyone and not beta ppl, then why would they let 3 million beta testers … im confused

    • http://www.nexon.net/ That is Nexon America’s game portal. http://en.nexoneu.com/NXEU.aspx?PART=/Main is Nexon Europe’s. The game portal is basically the front page for game portals where they display their games and latest news and other stuff. MapleStory was OFFICIALLY released in May 2005. MapleStory was officially launched before Nexon America launched their game portal. An MMO company usually doesn’t open a game portal until they have a second game coming out because having a portal for just one game defeats the purpose of a portal. For example, NHN Europe publishes Karos Online ( http://www.karosgame.com/ ) but they have not yet set up a game portal. It is likely that they will set up a game portal when a second game is released and eventually they will have as many games as NHN USA ( http://ijji.com ).

      Oh and a game portal doesn’t necessarily have to have the same name as the company. NHN USA’s game portal is called ijji. Gala-Net America’s game portal is called GPotato and soon Nexon America’s game portal will be called Block Party.

      • so a gameportal is a like a bag..
        and when you go shopping you dont need a bag for just 1 item ( game ) but its handy to get a bag when you have more than 1 item ( game ) .. right ?
        so before nexon america had its gameportal the website to check news on maplestory like patches was just maplestory.com or what ??
        and uhm.. nexon is like saying that they wil become blogparty for over a year now, when are they finaly gonna do it ?

        • Yeah, it’s basically like that. Back when Nexon hadn’t opened their portal, all they had was MapleStory’s official game website which at the time was http://mapleglobal.com . BlockParty was delayed for some reason. There’s no telling when it’s coming, but it’s coming soon.

  4. ooh and i forgot another thing to add :YOU FORGOT ALL ABOUT DRAGON NEST ~!!!!

  5. I told my friend (hard-core WoW player) I played maplestory and he started calling me a noob and stuff. Showed him this post and lolled.
    WoW 11million
    Maplestory Over 100million.

    (check maplestory.nexon.net. They posted it about 5 min ago)

    Woot! I beet update man!

    • and we get ice gorge, i preferd big bang but now we are sure big bang wil come after that patch, think about it : we wil have like 1 month maybe more to get ppl used to the ninja castle and ice gorge ( thats what nexon wil think ) so then after 1 month or so they have had enough time to test big bang even more in beta, and then we wil get it during next patch =D

  7. I stumbled onto your blog while doing research on Nexon. I’m on an exchange program with Hanyang Uni in Korea and have an assignment where I am doing a case-study on Nexon. This post caught my attention and has some details I would really like to look into. May I ask where you got your sources? I would really like to cite some of them.

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