Category Archives: Korean Gaming

Frequent M&A Change Market Shares in South Korea’s Online Game Industry

Another very interesting read.

An MMOsite article

Large-scale game makers’ frequent merger and acquisition activities are changing the market shares in South Korea’s online game industry. After four well-known acquisitions, Nexon has reinforced its leadership in South Korea’s online game industry, leaving other competitors far behind, while at the same time, NHN and CJ E&M are gradually being kicked out. The R&D power of large enterprises and the deepening of the online game market have attracted wide attention aroused the great attention of many industry insiders.

Upcoming Mabinogi 2

During this merger and acquisition wave, Nexon really showed its mightiness. Many South Korean developers, including Wizet, Neople, Ndoors, Gamehi and JCE were taken over by Nexon, as a direct result of which 8 hot-selling games in South Korea, including Maplestory, Dungeon Fighter Online, Atlantica Online, Sudden Attack, Free Style, FreeStyle Football, Free Style 2 and Cyphers, joined Nexon’s lineup.

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[KG] Major Companies File Lawsuit Against Shutdown Policy

The shutdown policy that was passed by the Korean National Assembly earlier this year to go into effect this fall is a new Korean government initiative to combat game addiction in South Korea. Aimed at children and teens age 16 and under, this policy limits the amount of time a player may play games by slowing down or shutting down a game service at a certain time. This policy applies only to companies based in Korea, and not to foreign companies servicing games in Korea.

The KAOGI (Korea Association of Online Game Industry) has announced that they will file a lawsuit against the shutdown policy, saying that the shutdown policy is against the South Korean constitution by violating the happiness right, legitimacy and appropriacy in terms of excessive prohibition and minimum infringement. This lawsuit will be led by some of the biggest Korean game companies including Nexon, NCSoft, Neowiz Games and Com2Us, but more companies are expected to join in before the lawsuit is filed this August.

The KAOGI said, “The shutdown lawsuit is to raise the game industry’s voice at the time of denouncing us as a harmful industry. Since the subjects of the lawsuit are members of the association the association will just convey the industry’s voice. Therefore the lawsuit will proceed seperately from the one by civic organization.”

In my opinion, game addiction doesn’t seem to be affecting Korea too negatively. It remains technologically and academically advanced and the country’s industry was one of the least affected by the global recession. Maybe game addiction is a good thing. But really, it’s up to the gamer to know what’s best and limit his or her own gameplay time.

[KG] Brief Analysis on the Development Strategies of Korean Big Six

I’ve always heard of the Korean Big Five: Nexon, NHN, NCSoft, Neowiz and CJ E&M, but it seems that Blizzard Korea has joined the pack, making it the Korean Big Six of Nexon, NHN, NCSoft, Neowiz, CJ E&M and Blizzard Korea.

From mmosite

Nexon, NCsoft, Neowiz Games, NHN Hangame, CJ E&M Netmarble and Blizzard Entertainment Korea are regarded as the six most powerful online-game companies in Korea, often called Big Six for short. All of them have played very important roles concerning the development of Korean MMO industry. However, as market changes, what are these Big Six going to react facing the fact that the newly-born Korean game rating and restriction policy goes into effect, more and more adult-only games prevail in the market, and a great many blockbusters will come out in the next half of this year? Following are some highlights of our analysis on their different strategies.

Nexon: Creating an entertainment kingdom by enlarging overseas markets and building up multi-platforms

Nexon will continue focusing on entering into overseas markets in this second half of this year and will start up its multi-platform development plan at the same time. Of course, it will also challenge the goal of becoming the first Korean online-game company who can succeed in making one-trillion-KRW profit.

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[NXKR] Nexon Korea To Take Over Sudden Attack and Atlantica

Nexon is known by some Korean companies as the “cancer of the Korean gaming industry”. This is because Nexon has acquired at least one successful company in each of the past several years and has taken over the service of at least one of their new subsidiary’s successful games from another publisher. This has surely worked for Nexon as they remain Korea’s largest online game publisher by revenue and will likely become Korea’s first gaming company to generate of 1 trillion Won in revenues in 2011.

Past examples of this include Nexon’s 2005 acquisition of Wizet, the creators of MapleStory, and in 2008 when Nexon acquired Dungeon Fighter Online (DFO) developer Neople. In the case of Wizet, Nexon was actually working with them since 2003 as Nexon published MapleStory in Korea and Japan and was at the time preparing the game for a global release. However, with Neople, DFO was being published by NHN on their Hangame portal from its launch in 2005 to Nexon’s takeover in 2008.

Both of these takeovers have proved extremely profitable for Nexon as MapleStory is one of the world’s most revenue-making games and DFO has grown to have over 300 million players worldwide and set a recently eclipsed world record of 2.2 million concurrent users.

Nexon continued their pattern of strategic acquisitions last year as they acquired three companies, Atlantica Online developer Ndoors, Sudden Attack developer Gamehi and Everplanet developer Nclipse.

The results of the takeover of Ndoors is likely the most obvious to North American gamers as Atlantica Online has transferred publishers from Ndoors Interactive to Nexon America. It has been announced that Nexon will take over another game from NHN (after DFO in 2008). Starting this Summer Nexon will take over the publishing of Atlantica Online in Korea. Atlantica will become third game to be published by all four publishing branches of Nexon, after MapleStory and Mabinogi. Of course, this number should increase to four by the end of the year as both Nexon Europe and Nexon Japan take on Vindictus.

Gamehi is the developer of the first free online first-person shooter to enter the Korean market, Sudden Attack. Sudden Attack has truly done well in Korea where it holds the fifth highest concurrent user mark of 250,000. Sudden Attack has been published by CJ E&M on their Netmarble portal since its launch in July 2004. Well Gamehi’s publishing contract with CJ E&M for Sudden Attack expires on July 14 and Nexon will take over publishing of the game on that day. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the original publishing contract that CJ E&M would have to handover the game’s database in the case of a service transfer. Therefore, unless Nexon can negotiate quickly with CJ E&M, no character data will be transferred between the two companies and all Sudden Attack players from CJ E&M will be forced to start over from scratch under Nexon.

It’s not just game transfers that have come as a result of Nexon’s acquisition of Gamehi. The development of MMORPG Dekaron 2 has been canceled as Nexon slashed Gamehi’s development team from 600 to just 200 in a move they describe as “strategic” and “conservative”. This was a huge shock to all Dekaron fans who were patiently awaiting Dekaron 2. The job cuts were not only as a result of the cancellation of Dekaron 2, but also were also due to the sale of Gamehi child company Hope Island to CJ E&M. Another change that came is the change of the Gamehi logo to a much better designed one in my opinion. The new logo also resembles the Nexon logo in many ways.

OLD Gamehi Logo Along With Nexon Group Logo


Awesome NEW Gamehi Logo That Looks Like The Nexon Logo In Lots of Ways

As far as Nclipse goes, I honestly haven’t heard much about them recently. Nexon continues to publish Everplanet in Korea and Japan and Everplanet made Msupdate’s Top 5 Nexon Games That Should Be Brought to North America. Maybe we’ll be seeing more of Nclipse in the near future.

[KG] Korea’s “Big Five”‘s Sales Tops US$2.68 Billion

From mmosite

As reported, the five game tycoons occupying a market share of 50%+ in South Korea’s online game industry made good achievements and hit sales of USD 2.68 billion in the financial year 2010, about 20% more than USD 2.23 billion in 2009. The five tycoons, including Nexon, NHN, NCsoft, Neowiz and CJ Internet, are currently leading the development trend of the South Korean online game market.

South Korean game companies’ merges and restructures have made Nexon, NHN and NCsoft the three main forces in the South Korean online game market in recent years. But as Neowiz reached its best-ever sales and operating profit, the age of four instead of three main forces arrived, and when NHN met its pre-set goal thanks to the appearance of TERA in 2011, the age of five main forces formally started.

Nexon, which had acquired certain shares of the medium South Korean game development companies like Ndoors and Gamehi, reaped a good harvest in not only South Korea but also North America last year. Nexon’s sales predicted by the industry have also been raised from USD 625 million for 2009 to USD 803.7 million for 2011. Nexon now tops the sales chart in South Korea.

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[KG] [NX] NXC CEO tops rich list in entertainment sector

From Korea JoongAng Daily

Left: Kim Taek-jin, CEO of NCsoft, Right: Kim Jung-ju, CEO of NXC

The wealthiest person in Korea’s entertainment industry was found to be Kim Jung-ju, CEO of NXC, a holding company for Nexon, Korea’s number 1 game company.

Forbes Korea analyzed major shareholders in Korea’s gaming, Internet, film distribution and talent industries, and released a list of the richest by assets. The magazine included holdings by spouses and children.

Kim owned 47.5 percent of NXC’s shares, making him worth 1.88 trillion won ($1.67 billion), and Yu Jeong-hyeon, his wife and NXC director, held shares worth 818.50 billion won. Together, they are worth 2.7 trillion won, the magazine said. Kim Taek-jin, CEO of NCsoft, was a distant second with assets totalling 1.97 trillion won.

Kim Young-chan and Kim Won-il, the-father-and-son co-CEOs of Golfzon, came in third with joint assets of 710 billion won. Established in 2005, Golfzon makes simulators for screen golf establishments.

Those who helped build Korea’s leading online portals also fared well.

Lee Hae-jin, chief strategic officer and founder of NHN, Korea’s top Web portal, came in fourth; Lee Jun-ho, chief operating officer of the company behind NHN’s search engine, ranked fifth; and Lee Jae-woong – founder of Daum, the country’s No. 2 portal – came in sixth.

Big names in show business were among the 30 richest: Lee Soo-man, founder and CEO of SM Entertainment, Korea’s leading talent agency, came in 11th; Yang Hyun-suk, CEO of YG Entertainment placed 21st; and Bae Yong-jun, actor and CEO of Keyeast, ranked 30th.

Heads of karaoke machine makers were among the wealthiest in entertainment. Yun Jae-hwan, president of TJ Media, and Kim Seung-yeong, chairman of Kumyoung, placed 16th and 18th, respectively.

The richest woman in the entertainment industry was Kim Yang-sin, the chairman of board of directors at JC Entertainment. She came in 12th. The only individual to make the cut from the art world was Lee Ho-jae, co-CEO of Seoul Auction, who placed 26th.