Nexon out­per­forms Net­mar­ble, NCSOFT

The Korea Times - - BUSINESS - By Jun Ji-hye jjh@ko­re­atimes.co.kr

Nexon has be­come the only ma­jor game com­pany here that has boosted its bot­tom line, while its two main com­peti­tors — Net­mar­ble and NCSOFT — con­tin­ued to reel from de­clin­ing prof­itabil­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to its earn­ings re­port for the third quar­ter of the year, an­nounced Thurs­day, Nexon posted a 238.1 bil­lion won ($211 mil­lion) op­er­at­ing profit, up by 4 per­cent from a year ago. On the other hand, Net­mar­ble and NCSOFT’s op­er­at­ing prof­its for the third quar­ter stood at 67.3 bil­lion won and 139 bil­lion won, re­spec­tively, down by 39.8 per­cent and 58 per­cent from a year ago.

Ow­ing to its growth trend, Nexon is highly likely to re­take the top po­si­tion this year from its ri­val Net­mar­ble in the do­mes­tic game mar­ket.

Nexon showed its strength in the mo­bile and over­seas mar­kets, with its sales grow­ing 19 per­cent and 25 per­cent in those mar­kets from a year ago, re­spec­tively.

“The con­tin­ued pop­u­lar­ity of our games such as Dun­geon & Fighter and Maple Story has con­tributed to the re­sult,” a Nexon of­fi­cial said.

“Dun­geon & Fighter” has shown a solid growth path in the Chi­nese mar­ket since its re­lease there a decade ago, while pop­u­lar­ity of the PC on­line game “Maple Story” has con­tin­ued in its mo­bile ver­sion, “Maple Story M.”

The of­fi­cial said “Dark­ness Rises” that was launched in the global mar­ket in June has also con­tributed to the firm’s sales growth in North Amer­ica and Eu­rope.

Net­mar­ble re­leased “Phan­tom­gate” on Google Play Store and Ap­ple’s App Store in 155 coun­tries on Sept. 18, seek­ing to make a re­bound, but has failed to show any con­spic­u­ous ac­com­plish­ments.

Net­mar­ble CEO Kwon Young-sig ac­knowl­edged the firm’s July-Septem­ber per­for­mance fell short of ex­pec­ta­tions, but stressed: “Net­mar­ble has ac­cu­mu­lated knowhow in the global mar­ket.”

He noted his firm will be able to ob­tain high per­for­mance as it plans to con­sis­tently re­lease var­i­ous gen­res of games, in­clud­ing “Blade & Soul Rev­o­lu­tion,” sched­uled for a Dec. 6 re­lease.

Ex­pec­ta­tion is also grow­ing to­ward an­other up­com­ing game, “BTS World,” which fea­tures the mem­bers of K-pop sen­sa­tion BTS. The game is ex­pected to be re­leased within the year though the ex­act launch date has yet to be de­cided.

The game uses more than 100 video clips and 10,000 pho­tos of the boy band, al­low­ing users to nur­ture a BTS mem­ber in the game.

NCSOFT has re­leased no notable games in the first half of the year and suf­fered lag­ging sales of mo­bile games.

“NCSOFT is ex­pected to suf­fer stag­na­tion in its sales and op­er­at­ing profit un­til the sec­ond quar­ter of next year when it plans to re­lease new games,” said Oh Dong-hwan, an an­a­lyst from Sam­sung Se­cu­ri­ties.

Dur­ing a press con­fer­ence, Wed­nes­day, NCSOFT CEO Kim Taek-jin in­tro­duced the firm’s up­com­ing mo­bile games in­clud­ing “Lin­eage 2M” and “Aion 2,” seek­ing to make a re­bound.

“The mo­bile ver­sion of Lin­eage 2 will be­come more pol­ished as we tried to re­pro­duce the PC game for mo­bile de­vices,” he said.

“Also, we tried to add some­thing more spe­cial with the mo­bile ver­sion.”

Kim Jung-ju Nexon founder

Kim Taek-jin NCSOFT CEO

Bang Joon-hyuk Net­mar­ble chair­man

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