Last week, NHN announced co-development of <Winning Eleven Online> with Konami Digital Entertainment. Two days later, KTH also revealed cooperation with SEGA over <Football Manager Online>. In addition to EA-Neowiz Games’ <FIFA Online>, other two worldwide popular football games chose to work with Korean developers for the online versions of their representative titles.
<Football Manager Online> is set to launch CBT in this autumn and <Winning Eleven Online> is aiming next year. Moreover, Korean developer AniPark’s new football online game <Chagu Chagu> is also going to be out in 2012. So year 2012 would be a big bang of online football games in Korean game industry. ※ ‘Chagu’ means kicking.
■ Frustration from Expected War of Online Football Games in 2006
Well, this is not the first time Korean game industry caught in football game fever. In 2006, the year of FIFA German Worldcup, we had a lot of football games introduced indeed.
Game studios in Korea instantly started developing football games as so many Korean gamers love playing <FIFA>, <Winning Eleven>, or <Football Manager> and the craze of the Worldcup hit Korea.
So more than 10 studios announced new football games prior to the Worldcup, but most of them failed to achieve certain portion of the market because they were just nothing but improvised games due to shortage of development time.
■ Overwhelming Gap Between Popular Football Games and Improvised Works
<FIFA Online> was the one survived in the 2006 football game market.
It topped 50,000 CCU within 9 days during OBT and achieved 100,000 CCU within 20 days. This was the fastest CCU record in the Korean online game history.
After all, it recorded 180,000 CCU and its sequel <FIFA Online 2> gathered 220,000 CCU last July.
The war of football online games ended with a winner <FIFA Online>. All the Korean titles were totally overwhelmed. The gap seemed too big.
The incompletion arisen from the lack of time was the key failure. An official from a publisher then even said “The biggest criterion during the development was whether it was more fun to play than <FIFA> and <Winning Eleven>.”
■ Second Big Bang of Online Football Games Coming 2012
After 6 years from 2006, there seems like another war for the online football game.
For now, <FIFA Online> is defenately the king of the market and <Freestyle Football> of JCE is saving Korean developers’ pride.
Unlike RPG market, 3rd place in the casual game market means nothing. In racing genre, <Kart Rider> and <Tales Runner> were two tops while <Sudden Attack> and <Special Force> led FPS market. Not much differently, baseball game <Magu Magu> and <Slugger>also share the whole market bilaterally.
So ‘No.3′ in casual game market does not mean success.
It is also exciting to watch which collaboration of NHN-<Winning Eleven>, KTH-<Football Manager>, and Neowiz Games-<FIFA> would defeat the others in Korea.