Nexon outperforms Netmarble, NCSOFT
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