Tag: magumagu

The Battle of Online Baseball Games

CJ E&M, NCsoft and Nexon will compete in baseball game genre.

Nexon declares developing an online baseball game based on the real world first. Nexon also showed its aggressive move toward baseball genre by announcing the online baseball game development plan with 2K Sports in May, 2011 and starting to sponsor one of Korean professional baseball teams – Lotte Giants.

NCsoft made a contract with EA to publish ‘MVP Baseball Online’. The game is developed by EA Korea Seoul Studio. Because NCsoft found 9th professional baseball team ‘NC Dinosaur’, the company is known to give wholehearted support to its baseball game.

CJ E&M also revealed ‘MAGU The Real’, a baseball game by Unreal Engine 3. The game emphasizes its reality by adopting the real data from Korean professional baseball league.

The interesting issue is that a rival, ‘MLB 2K’ and ‘MVP Baseball’, will compete with each other again in Korea. Since 2K Sports acquired exclusive MLB license in 2006, ‘MVP Baseball’ has not released the latest version since 2005. However the exclusive contract is expired in 2012, ‘MVP Baseball’ could get MLB license as well.

NC Dinosaur is a team based on Changwon regionally, while Lotte Giants, which is sponsored by Nexon, is based on Busan. Two teams are doomed to become a rival since Changwon and Busan is very close. We expect that it is not far away two biggest online game companies in Korea will fight each other at baseball stadiums.

We cannot under estimate CJ E&M’s ‘MAGU The Real’ because CJ E&M is the current leader in Korean online baseball game market with ‘MaguMagu’.

‘MAGU The Real’ is expected to be available in late 2012, while ‘2K Baseball Online’ is scheduled for 2013. There is nothing to be known about ‘MVP Baseball Online’ releasing schedule. We expect it to be available 2013 as well.

Common things among 3 different online baseball games are that they all emphasize its reality as well as all of them will be likely to have KBO(Korean Baseball Organization) license.

A Controversy around Korean Online Baseball Games

Sports games and sports licensing go hand in hand. You can’t imagine a sports game without real-life professionals or sports teams. EA Sports mimics the real-life sports environment.

Baseball is a popular sport in Korea along with soccer. Especially after World Baseball Classic 2009, attendance soared by 30% and set new record high above 5,920,000.

Naturally, online baseball games are also in high demand. In Korea, there are two major baseball online games; Slugger (MLB Dugout Heroes:eng) from Neowiz Games and Ma9 (aka Magumagu or 마구마구: kor) from CJ Internet.

CJ Internet’s Ma9 signed a three-year sponsorship deal with KBOP, a subsidiary of Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), and took on sponsorship of Korean baseball league for the first time as online gaming company. The league’s official name dubbed as 2009 CJ Magumagu Pro Baseball League. This was an unprecedented move from both sides and made people think twice about online games.

However, a power struggle brewed between two companies over the KBO license. Neowiz Games’ Slugger signed a licensing deal with KBOP since 2007 and had used team’s logo, mascots, and player portraits. Early this year, however, CJ Internet made an exclusive licensing agreement with KBOP as taking Neowiz Games out of competition. The odds of Neowiz Games renewing its license in 2010 look slim. In response to such action, Neowiz Games filed a complaint to Korea Fair Trade Commission and is now waiting for a result.

This is a very sensitive issue because Slugger is outdoing Ma9 in Korea. If?Slugger can’t use any real-life player portraits anymore, it will probably have a negative impact on sales.