Tag: 5 Key Trends for 2009

[Korea] 5 Key Trends for 2009? ⑤ Browser-Based Games

This is the fifth and the last installment of the five-part series: Browser-based games.

Browser-based games seem to be a hit in Korea. From a publisher’s view, browser-based games are compatible even with low-spec PCs as long as they are connected with Internet. On top of that, relatively short?development time, low server?operation?costs, no limit on CCUs, low publishing costs all played in favor of?browser-based game frenzy in 2009.

It seems a perfect fit especially for portal operators who would love to expand their lineup with low cost browser-based games. As a result, Chinese games that already developed enough contents are expected to roll out fast in Korea.

Browser-based games became a necessity for major publishers in Korea; NCsoft has?Murim Empire (무림제국: Kor) and Battle Hero (not in service yet) in its pipeline, while Nexon has 熱血三國 (열혈삼국: Kor, not in service), SONOV has Berkanix, Aeon Soft has 武林英雄 (무림영웅: Kor) and Castle of Heroes, Actoz Soft has 縱橫天下 (종횡천하: Kor). Mgame also announced its expansion plan for browser-based games.

<Aeon Soft’s?Castle of Heroes>

Suhee Lee, a CEO of Joara, discussed the current trend of the browser-based game’s success at Korea Games Conference (KGC) 2009. “The market size of Korean browser-based games is estimated at 3 billion Won (US$ 2.3 million), which is considerably small compared to the online gaming market. ?7th Dragon (칠용전설: Kor) which is considered as the most successful game in the genre makes only 200~300 million Won (US$ 154,000~231,000) per month,” Lee explained. “However, the major publishers plan to introduce more than 10 games this year alone and probably more than 100 browser-based games next year. Under the circumstance, the market is expected to grow fast next year.”

<NCsoft’s Murim Empire>

* I couldn’t find English titles of some games here and would appreciate if anyone would help me on that.

[Korea] 5 Key Trends for 2009? ④ Auto, friend or foe?

This is the fourth installment of the five-part series:?‘Auto’, friend or foe?

Auto is another keyword to define the Korean online gaming market in 2009. Auto is short for auto mouse or automouse. Game companies employed two very different strategies toward auto mouse. One is to ban players who use it and the other is to include it in their game system and make it legitimate.

NCsoft is one of the companies came on strong. The company continuously banned a large number of auto users. The action brought out collective civil complaints but so far NCsoft maintained its position on the matter.

EYA Soft is on the other side, however. The company sold an auto mouse item in Murim Story (무림외전: Kor,?武林外?: Chi) but later integrated it to game system because it failed at getting ratings by Game Rating Board.?EYA Soft is applying same tactic to Angel Love Online and became the center of pro-auto.

<Auto system Murim Story?developed by the game developer>

Auto has been a controversial issue all throughout the year among players and game companies. Some users resent auto while there was a movement to make it legitimate as some of Chinese games started supporting auto mouse in their games. Auto programs developed by a third party are illegal but it’s not if they are developed by game developers.

[Korea] 5 Key Trends for 2009? ③ Non-targeting MMOs

This is the third installment of the five-part series: Non-targeting MMORPGs.

The number of non-targeting MMOs has surged in 2009. EyeDentity GamesDragon Nest, NHN‘s C9, Bluehole Studio‘s Tera and Nexon‘s Mabinogi Heroes all employed non-targeting system in their games. Non-targeting enables players to enjoy better actions yet limits the number of players due to a balancing problem. As a matter of fact, C9, Mabinogi Heroes and DrangonNest all emphasize the action aspect of the game.

<NHN Games’ C9>

Bluehole Studio’s Tera created this trend of emphasizing action yet still maintaining characteristics of MMORPG. Project H, a MMORPG developed by MAIET Entertainment (a studio behind Gunz), also falls into the category.

In MMORPGs, non-targeting system should be based on articulately structured target area and view. Game developers learned through trial and error in order to achieve high quality non-targeting system, which would be totally new to MMORPG.

From the user side, ?they welcomed such changes. C9 received rave reviews and was mentioned as one of strong contenders for the game award. DragonNest and Mabinogi Heroes seemed to meet users’ expectations throughout CBT.

<Bluehole Studio’s Tera>

[Korea] 5 Key Trends for 2009? ② Anything Zombie

This is the second installment of the five-part series: Anything zombie.

The trend started with Counter Strike Online: Zombie 3 and Left4Dead 2, then it took off as other companies added zombie characters in their games such as Nexon America’s Combat Arms, Sonov’s Project D, WeMade’s Gem Fighter, GameHi’s Zombie Online, Nexon’s Bubble Fighter and BnB. It turned out that players loved the fight against the undead.

<Counter Strike Online>

Introducing zombies into the games brought the horror aspect into the simple match. “Zombies naturally play perfect?villains??thanks to its horror and freakish strength. Especially for FPS games, it created a whole new game between player vs. zombie rather than the old player vs. player. Also, the game is not just about one-shot-one-kill anymore. You can fire up all your weapon to kill zombies. And that’s a different kind of fun,” explained an industry insider.

<Even a casual quiz game like BnB adapted a zombie theme>

[Korea] 5 Key Trends for 2009 – ① The Invasion of the Chinese Games

Chinese games, Zombie, non-targeting systems, auto mouse, and browser-based games are the key trends for 2009 in the Korean online gaming market.

This is the first installment in the five-part series- the invasion of the Chinese games.

This year Korean publishers rushed to publish Chinese games; Pixel Soft’s?Journey to Fairyland aka JTF (심선: Kor, ?仙: Chi) by CJ Internet, Perfect World’s?Murim Story (무림외전: Kor,?武林外?: Chi) by EYA Interactive, FuLaDe Entertainment’s?天尊 Online (천존협객전: Kor) by Liveplex are cases in point. These games have been launched in Korea during 1H09.

And there are more to come. Korean major publishers signed a licensing deal with Chinese developers: Beijing Game World Tech’s Battlestar Online and Perfect World’s Zuxian Online (?仙: Chi, 주신: Kor) by CJ Internet, Perfect World’s Red Cliff (赤壁: Chi, 적벽: Kor) by KTH (Paran), Sohu’s 天龍八部 (천룡팔부: Kor) by Alt1, and The9′s World of Fight (名?三?WOF: Chi)

The reason for the flourish is the success of Perfect World (完美世界: Chi, 완미세계: Kor)?in Korea. Also Chinese games filled the void caused by delayed Korean games. Players found Chinese games alternative to Korean games because of a) the high quality and b) somewhat familiar yet still new contents. Most Chinese games brought to Korea had already gone through the phases of commercial services in China so the stability and contents availability won Korean publishers over as well.?Towards the 2H09, however, the blockbuster Korean games started dampening the popularity of Chinese game.

All in all, with other Chinese games lined up in the pipeline and major updates for existing games, Chinese games are expected to flourish in the Korean online gaming market.

<Butterfly?Sword?Online (流星蝴蝶劍: Chi, 유성호접검:Kor) developed by Nineyou?is planning to launch in Korea by 2010>