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[Column] General: Two Koreans Grow, One Shrinks

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,572MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

It's been a mercurial year in the gaming industry with layoffs and closures and mergers. In today's Free Zone, we take a look at three Korean companies as illustrative of the issue. Check it out before leaving your thoughts in the comments.

While I'm like most others in regarding Nexon as Korean, there's a technicality. It's actually headquartered in Japan. Among other things, this means its financial reports are denominated in yen. A couple of weeks ago, the company released numbers for both the last quarter of 2012 and the entire year. As usual, some of them piqued my interest. 

Read more of Richard Aihoshi's The Free Zone: Two Koreans Grow, One Shrinks.

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Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
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Comments

  • AlotAlot BredaPosts: 1,948Member

    Richard, the full article doesn't want to load for me. It's the only article I've encountered so far that acts like this.

    Edit: It works now.

  • adam_noxadam_nox hays, KSPosts: 2,073Member Uncommon
    I think it's a punchline.
  • TalmienTalmien Hopewell, NJPosts: 78Member

    I think the fact that our Market is only 3.6% if a very important number. It can really make you stop and think about why MMOs are headed in the direction they are.

     

    I don't think its any big secret that most of us here on MMORPG feel MMOs are declining, but it may just be because the wants of our small market are different from the wants of Japan and Korea.

  • Superman0XSuperman0X San Jose, CAPosts: 1,571Member Uncommon

    The Asian (and soon Russian) markets are so big that they dominate the global economy (for gaming). With the increased internationalization of gaming due to the internet... it is not unexpected to see the Western Markets become the secondary markets... even to the companys that operate here (Activision/Blizzard, EA, etc). It is becoming more evident that developers have to hit the major markets (Asia/Russia) else they will be pushed out of the global market, or just bought out by one of the companies that do hit the bigger markets.

     

    There will be a lot more consolidation in the next few years.. with the Asian publishers just buying up the smaller developers, to re-tool them for the Asian markets. The good news is that this should generate a lot more indies, who can survive in the (smaller) western markets, until they are bought out also.

  • BattlerockBattlerock Youngstown, OHPosts: 1,393Member
    Im not a big fan of GW2 and they aren't big fans of apple pie. Doesn't mean they have to eat it.
  • CalerxesCalerxes LondonPosts: 1,630Member Uncommon
    EA Activison merger its the only way to compete for the west now, all their respective "fans" on here are going to love that, let the rejoicing comence image the futures bright for us video game lovers. image

    This doom and gloom thread was brought to you by Chin Up™ the new ultra high caffeine soft drink for gamers who just need that boost of happiness after a long forum session.

  • moosecatlolmoosecatlol Boring, TXPosts: 1,171Member Uncommon
    Guess who the largest shareholder for NCsoft is. Fun fact it's the behemoth of the article, and one of the worst things to have happened to the industry.
  • EhllfhireEhllfhire Sacramento, CAPosts: 597Member
    A 3.6% share of the market screams problems for western markets. It means the mmo devs will likely cater to asia in the forseeable future. Get used to global mmo's being catered to an eastern audience.

    Any graphical, audio, or gameplay restrictions not seen in other mmos but found in FFXIV can be blamed on one thing.
    PS3

  • RazeeksterRazeekster Solon, MEPosts: 2,201Member Uncommon
    I'm honestly scared of Nexon overtaking everything. They are terrible at communicating to their players and never answer tickets. NCsoft always gets back to you within 24 hours (in my personal experience), while Nexon literally takes months, sometimes even years!

    Smile

  • TorvalTorval Oregon CountryPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon

    Great article Richard.  There is a lot to chew on there.  What sticks out most to me is the 3.6% figure.  Why has our NA contribution become so anemic?  Is that because of a blooming Asian market or a lack of interest from the NA playerbase?

    I'm also curious how Perfect World fits into all of this.  I understand there are a lot of publishers to consider but PWE seems like one of the biggies.  In one of your upcoming articles could you highlight how Nexon, PWE, and other major players fit together, are competing, etc.

  • XAPKenXAPKen Northwest, INPosts: 4,895Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    Great article Richard.  There is a lot to chew on there.  What sticks out most to me is the 3.6% figure.  Why has our NA contribution become so anemic?  Is that because of a blooming Asian market or a lack of interest from the NA playerbase?

    I'm also curious how Perfect World fits into all of this.  I understand there are a lot of publishers to consider but PWE seems like one of the biggies.  In one of your upcoming articles could you highlight how Nexon, PWE, and other major players fit together, are competing, etc.

    Ditto on interest in an overview of the majors.  Also on the market share of individual properties.


    Ken Fisher - Semi retired old fart Network Administrator, now turned Amateur Game Developer.  I don't Forum PVP.  If you feel I've attacked you, it was probably by accident.  Realm Lords 2 on MMORPG.com
  • PurutzilPurutzil East Stroudsburg, PAPosts: 2,923Member Uncommon
    A lot of dislike for the asian market and truthfully, I don't get it. A lot of the western market is WHY the market is declining. Many of those ideas of dumbing down games and the likes come from OUR side, not from over there. Not saying of course its all perfect, but I just find it silly people are calling that theres a decline in the MMo market and all the big names as of lately in the West have been Western games, very few Eastern games really get big due to xenophobia and people's reluctance to actually have 'harder' things mixed in.
  • SukiyakiSukiyaki GreenwichPosts: 1,398Member Uncommon

    Mind you the share is only secondary after the total amount of revenues per market.

    It's not like 5.5%+3.6% or 23.9% is some pennies when you earn 20% more than WoW in total or half of it.  Even including WoWs expansion box sales. We are talking about hundredmillion Dollars in a y year here in the West by either one of these companies.

    Thats much more than any "Western" MMO or MMORPG aside from WoW earns it self (excludes GW2 as its NCSoft's own game). Of course it combines multiple games of theirs. But dont be fooled to believe their marketshare here is tiny, just because they are more successfull in the East. SwtoR may be the only one still sliding close to it but only due to its "recent" release and only recently turning F2P due to the poor retention. The next stable one would be EvE with barely more than half of either ones Western revenues.

     

    Too many have the false and unreal impression (in some cases leaning to ignorant delusions), that the Western market is something "10 million WoW user * 12 months * 15 bucks + 5 Million WOW boxsales * 60 bucks" large and the East maybe only "like 10 million * 1$ * 12 month" small and the only game they have some clue about has some +50% global MMORPG marketshare, when its not even close to a quarter, because thats simply all they hear and know about.

     
  • HeroEvermoreHeroEvermore salem, ORPosts: 672Member
    Crazy how small our market. Suprising? Maybe not so much. Games in NA are just not what they used to be and the stuff we get is such a mess when its translated and "westernized".

    Hero Evermore
    Guild Master of Dragonspine since 1982.
    Playing Path of Exile and deeply in love with it.

  • daeandordaeandor Houston, TXPosts: 2,996Member
    I find this scary and exciting.  Hopefully the indy developers will get supported by the western markets and allow us to play the games we want without succumbing to the asian mega-mmo's.  I'm hoping that we see a resurgence of companies similar to mythic (of old) or ccp that are willing to grow in their niche.
  • ThupliThupli Spokane, WAPosts: 581Member Uncommon

    3.6% is only scary if we know what it is relative too.  Maybe WoW is also in that same range when comparing %.  Obviously the market is bigger in the east, but I'd love to know total numbers of players for that 3.6% and compare that to total player of other popular western MMOs just to get a reference.  That would be interesting.

     

     

  • CalerxesCalerxes LondonPosts: 1,630Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Torvaldr

    Great article Richard.  There is a lot to chew on there.  What sticks out most to me is the 3.6% figure.  Why has our NA contribution become so anemic?  Is that because of a blooming Asian market or a lack of interest from the NA playerbase?

    I'm also curious how Perfect World fits into all of this.  I understand there are a lot of publishers to consider but PWE seems like one of the biggies.  In one of your upcoming articles could you highlight how Nexon, PWE, and other major players fit together, are competing, etc.

     

    You also have to consider that most people on here consider MMO's as mainly MMORPG's and with the article expressing that Nexons bulk of revenue comes from Dungeon Fighter http://dungeonfighter.nexon.net/ its a completely different market. In Asia you play in internet cafe's which makes playing together more natural so they have taken to all sorts on online games more easily than us westerners, games like Dungeon Fighter are mainly laughed at on this boards and ignored by most others. Nexon also has about the same income as EA and Activision so our market is not just about online gaming. It would be interesting to see what the figures are in Asia for non-online games.

    This doom and gloom thread was brought to you by Chin Up™ the new ultra high caffeine soft drink for gamers who just need that boost of happiness after a long forum session.

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,180Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Superman0X

    The Asian (and soon Russian) markets are so big that they dominate the global economy (for gaming). With the increased internationalization of gaming due to the internet... it is not unexpected to see the Western Markets become the secondary markets... even to the companys that operate here (Activision/Blizzard, EA, etc). It is becoming more evident that developers have to hit the major markets (Asia/Russia) else they will be pushed out of the global market, or just bought out by one of the companies that do hit the bigger markets.

     

    There will be a lot more consolidation in the next few years.. with the Asian publishers just buying up the smaller developers, to re-tool them for the Asian markets. The good news is that this should generate a lot more indies, who can survive in the (smaller) western markets, until they are bought out also.

    The Russian market is smaller than the US market, not sure what you are attempting to say there.  China is the bull in the china shop here, the Koreans will probably all be looking at China as a leader soon.

    Besides GW2, NCSoft has not had a lot of winners lately.  I don't see anything coming down the pipeline this year either.  Could be that NCSoft is on the decline?  Only time will tell.

    I think that 3.6% you are all referring to is the percentage of that companies market share in the west.  You should not confuse that with western MMO market share.  Eastern MMO's do not seem to be that popular in the west.

  • ShadowVlicanShadowVlican Toronto, ONPosts: 158Member
    Originally posted by Razeekster
    I'm honestly scared of Nexon overtaking everything. They are terrible at communicating to their players and never answer tickets. NCsoft always gets back to you within 24 hours (in my personal experience), while Nexon literally takes months, sometimes even years!

    +1 they've still not answered my support ticket to date (my dragon nest account was hacked last year due to THEIR insecurities)

  • therain93therain93 Winthrop, MAPosts: 2,039Member
    Originally posted by Ehllfhire
    A 3.6% share of the market screams problems for western markets. It means the mmo devs will likely cater to asia in the forseeable future. Get used to global mmo's being catered to an eastern audience.

    I'd like to say "not necessarily".....for a self-published game.  I'm terribly sad for the loss of City of Heroes, developed by Cryptic and then sold/developed by Paragon Studios, but it was published by NCsoft.  The percent share that CoH contributed to NCsoft was definitely piddly when you talke about it relatively speaking and I'm sure it contributed to the shutdown, but had CoH been independently published, it could have flourished.

    And I think that will be the difference going forward -- purchasing retail rack space for your game box is no longer a requirement, making working with a publisher not necessarily a requirement.  Yes, there are conveniences such as the economies of scale for various support functions (marketing, help desk, server farm, etc.) that a publisher can offer, but social media and proliferation of high-speed internet in America really do make it more than possible to run a profitable game in the West, so long as you're happy with a profit and not just a WoW-sized profit.

  • snapfusionsnapfusion San, CAPosts: 954Member
    This has zero impact on me since NC Soft, Nexon, all these eastern publishes dont make a single game I like or ever will, its just an art style and game design I dont enjoy.  There will always be a western themed niche MMO I like.  Thats the great thing about software.
  • jtcgsjtcgs New Port Richey, ILPosts: 1,777Member

    I have talked about Nexon at length on this site many times...and each time the mouthbreathers refused to believe that F2P can make that much money...

    I should place the URL to this article in my sig...

    A company does spend over 300 million in a year buying out other companies, including a 15% stake in NCsoft unless they are making hand over fist in profits.

    “I hope we shall crush...in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  • CyborWolfTKCyborWolfTK anywhere, AKPosts: 77Member
    Originally posted by HeroEvermore
    Crazy how small our market. Suprising? Maybe not so much. Games in NA are just not what they used to be and the stuff we get is such a mess when its translated and "westernized".

    +1

     

  • CnameCname KinabaluPosts: 125Member Uncommon

    I think the "3.6%" NA market share mentioned in this article is just referring to Nexon's global revenue only  and not the global MMOG market as a whole. 

    "A game is fun if it is learnable but not trivial" -- Togelius & Schmidhuber

  • bobfishbobfish SouthamptonPosts: 1,688Member

    This isn't really anything we didn't already know two or even three years ago.

     

    The key piece of information that is missing though is that the Korean market saturated a long time ago and the solution was to diversify, create games that targeted different segments of the market to maximise the revenue.

     

    This hasn't happened in the west yet, though we're seeing signs of it with the rise of games like World of Tanks, but there is a long way to go  yet.

     

    The money is there, the North American and European markets are massive, but as long as all of the MMO publishers are going after the same "WoW" crowd, they won't reap the benefits.

     

    Also, keep in mind that Eastern Europe is full of emerging markets, this year and next Europe as a whole is likely to surpass North America in market size. Leaving NA third fourth on the list behind East Asia, China and Europe (Note China is counted seperately due to their laws against foreign companies).

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