Korean game publishers boost ties to diversify profit models

2024.02.02 14:15:01 | 2024.02.02 15:30:13

[Courtesy of Nexon]이미지 확대

[Courtesy of Nexon]

South Korean game publishers are seeking more collaborations, shifting away from conventional strategies focusing on in-house development and marketing of mobile games, to strengthen intellectual properties (IPs) and diversify portfolios to improve earnings.

According to industry sources on Thursday, Com2uS Corp. has partnered with Polish video game developer CD Projekt S.A. (CDPR) in its recent update for its flagship, “Summoners War: Sky Arena,” and CDPR’s renowned role-playing game (RPG), “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.”

CDPR’s “The Witcher 3” is a PC/console game based on the popular book series by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. The game has sold over 50 million copies worldwide since its release in 2015, winning multiple international game awards.

With the latest collaboration, key characters and the world of “The Witcher 3” have been added to “Summoners War.”

Launched in 2014, “Summoners War” has achieved over 200 million downloads and accumulated sales of 3.2 trillion won ($2.4 billion), ranking top in revenue in 94 countries worldwide.

The latest collaboration is closely watched by industry insiders given the strong fan base for both games in North America and Europe.

“Large IP collaborations often lead to an increase in sales at application markets at home and abroad, leading to improved profitability,” said one industry insider.

Nexon Korea Corp.’s attempt includes two of its long-standing flagship mobile games, “KartRider Rush+” and “MapleStory M.”

In its recent updates, Nexon brought popular characters from the “MapleStory,” such as Pink Bean and Orange Mushroom, into KartRider, allowing users to enjoy unique driving experiences in the mobile racing game.

The video game makers are also actively seeking expansion through collaborations with other brands to build fan loyalty and attract new users.

Collaborations are especially frequent with food products like instant noodles and drinks, as well as franchise cafes and cartoon characters as marketing effects are immediately visible.

NCsoft Corp. collaborated with Saga Prefecture in Japan for their flagship game, “Lineage W.”

As part of the collaboration, gamers can find the “Saga Prefecture Expedition” on the map in the game, while tourists visiting major attractions such as hot springs and historical sites in Saga Prefecture can experience tourism content linked with “Lineage W” until March 3.

Last year, Pearl Abyss Corp. collaborated with local food manufacturer Paldo Co., featuring its “Black Desert” game image on Paldo’s instant cup noodles.

Neowiz partnered with Banolimfood’s Banolim Pizza, offering customers who order the collaboration menu coupons for game items that could be used in its game, ”Cats and Soup.“

Amid challenges in performance, video game makers’ performances appear to vary depending on the popularity of existing IPs and the success of new releases.

While Nexon anticipates record-breaking sales and operating profit, NCsoft, Kakao Games Corp., and Netmarble Corp. are expected to see annual performance declines.

By Hwang Soon-min and Chang Iou-chung

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]