1. Blade&Soul and Diablo3
Both was launched during the period and made various issues. Especially Diablo3 claimed #1 PC Bang ranking chart with 430,000 CCU. Diablo3 also suffered from server issue, a roll-back error, balance & bug issue. Blizzard announced the restrictive refund policy for Diablo3 after Fair Trade Commission’s investigation.
Blade&Soul topped Diablo3 during OBT, but stepped down to the 3rd after the commercialized service was started.
2. Nexon acquires shares from NCSoft
Nexon acquired 14.7% shares from NCSoft CEO Taek-jin Kim and became the major shareholder of NCSoft. It was huge because two among biggest Korean online game companies agreed to cooperate. On the other hand, the question around NCSoft is getting bigger because NCSoft CEO Taek-jin Kim has not revealed the use of 800 billion Won (about $700 million), which is a compensation for 14.7% shares from Nexon.
3. On restructuring
M&A was a hot issue last year. During the first half of the year, restructuring was a hot issue among Korean online game companies.
NCSoft announced its restructuring plan on the 19th of June and started accepting voluntary resignation. NCSoft will cut at least 100 employees and focus on developing games more. Neowiz Games has done restructuring and NHN is on restructuring now as well.
Restructuring is happened every year, but the atmosphere around the Korean game industry is chaotic because many people have left the industry this year more than ever.
4. PC Bang ranking Cataclysm
PC Bang ranking has not changed for many years until this year. League of Legends topped Korean PC Bang ranking on March with 13.91% occupation rate and kept staying at the top before diablo3 launching.
Diablo3 achieved ‘The best PC Bang occupation rate record ever’ with 38.75% and topped League of Legends. Blade&Soul claimed #1 from Diablo3 during its OBT.
5. Another Cataclysm for e-Sports
Starcraft’s Brood War has dominated Korean e-Sports market for more than 10 years. However, The year 2012 is the last. Proleague hosted by KESPA (Korean e-Sports Association), will be held with Starcraft2 from October, 2012 to 2013 as well as Starleague hosted by Ongamenet.
In addition, another e-Sports icon is rising – League of Legends. Summer league of LOL The Champions will be held soon as well as World Championship in Autumn with the total prize money of $3 million.
6. Playable time select system
New protection system from game addiction called ‘Playable time select system’ will take effect from the 1st of July. It is the system that restricts the youth from playing game during the time that a legal representative requests.
Once the system is conducted, the youth under the age of 18 and his/her parents as a legal representative could set the game available period. If the time that parents want is collapsed with the period that a youth wants, the period selected by parents becomes priority.
Korean online game companies are needed to spend additional developing cost to apply the system into their games. Some companies request Game Rating Board to categorize their games as ‘Over age 18’ not to apply this system into their games because of the additional budget.
Xbox360 and PS3 are no exception. PS3 Store will be closed on the 29th because of it.
7. Items trade for Real Money
Real Money Aution House (RMAH) for Diablo3 was opened on the 13th of June in the U.S. However, Korean could not use RMAH because of the government’s policy. Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism (MCST) announced that the acts of trading game money, items by a company is illegal from July while it is still possible that game money and item trading between individual users.
8. Have you seen any innovation stuffs at E3 2012?
Most people from Korean online game industry were disappointed at E3 2012. There were full of games that were named after sequel or reboot. In addition, we found too much violence within games.
9. Heading for Chinese’s mobile game market
Com2uS and Gamevil, two of most anticipated Korean mobile game companies, is head for Chinese mobile game market. Escape the ape and Tower Defense: Lost Earth from Com2uS was ranked #1 and #2 in Chinese App Store while Gamevil was selected as the best global mobile platform company in China.
10. Smartphone games are booming!
Wemade Entertainment, which was client based online game company once, is now focusing on developing smartphone games. Nexon, NCSoft, NHN, CJ Netmarble, Neowiz Games have made their mobile games division stronger.
Mid-sized online game companies such as Nowcom, Liveplex, Choirock Games are also declared to develop mobile games. We could easily found a new mobile game company, established by an Individual developer. The number keeps increasing now.
11. Crossfire is on fire
The revenue of Online FPS game Crossfire from China only exceeded 1,000 billion Won ($874 million) with 3.5 million CCU. Its global publisher Neowiz Games are disputing with Smilegate, developer of the game, for extending the publishing contract. The publishing contract between Neowiz Games and Tencent will be expired in summer of 2013.
Smilegate is not satisfied with Neowiz Games’ sudden decision that closed domestic service of Crossfire without noticing Smilegate.