The store is the latest project of the game company whose main business is the massively popular “Fortnite” and game development suite Unreal Engine.
While Epic Games Store launched globally at the end of last year, the opening was stalled for Korea due to game ratings regulations. Every legally distributed game in Korea has to have its user age ratings approved by Korea’s Game Rating and Administration Committee.
While Epic Games Korea is still in the process of gaining the rights to license the games it distributes itself, the store will open on April 12 to begin the distribution of games that have already been approved, the company said.
|Epic Games Korea’s CEO Park Sung-chul speaks at a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of operations here. (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)|
The tide is right, said CEO Park Sung-chul, citing that the total downloads across the world of Epic Games’ 3D graphics development software surged in 2018 to 7.5 million, up 50 percent from 5 million the previous year.
Park was half of the two-man team that started the Korea branch of US-based Epic Games. Support manager and engineer Jack Porter was the other half. Epic Games Korea now has around 20 employees.
The growth was especially notable in Korea, where Unreal Engine users saw a 71 percent on-year increase in 2018. Daily active users of the software rose 31 percent and offline conference attendees rose 20 percent in Korea.
Currently seven firms here hold the rights to autonomously license the games they distribute: Google, Samsung Electronics, Sony Interactive Entertainment Korea, Oculus VR, One Store, Apple and Kakao Games.
Epic Games Store’s first available game, “The Witness,” will be free to download for a week. Other titles will gradually be added, most of which will be shooting games that have individually gained KGRAC’s approval for users aged 18 or older. Adult games need the KGRAC’s approval regardless of self-licensing rights.
“Our users will agree that opening the store now and continuing to update it is better than waiting for another year for a perfect launch,” said Park.
“It has always been our founder Tim Sweeney’s wishes to disintegrate the current monopoly in game distribution market,” Park said.
|Epic Games` "Fortnite"|
Embodying the founder’s vision, Epic Games Store approaches game distribution in a completely different manner from its competitors, according to Park. The online store platform, which is also open to other publishers, is more akin to Instagram or Facebook, where users are given customized feeds showing games created by developers they like.
“Epic Games Korea will shadow the headquarters’ directions, while abiding all the domestic regulations,” Park said, vowing to create jobs in Korea as well as an ecosystem of education for sustainable development.
In nongame areas, Unreal Engine has been recognized in the realms of automobiles, entertainment, architecture and many other areas. Its partners are Ferrari, McLaren, Volkswagen, BMW and Audi, as well as global interior design companies Steelcase and Ikea.
Unreal Engine won a 2017-2018 Emmy Award from the US’ National Academy of Television Arts and Science for its role as 3D engine software for animation production. The movies “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and “Planet of the Apes” also all used Unreal.
As for games, new titles being developed in Korea using the Unreal Engine include NCSoft’s “Lineage 2M,” “Aion 2,” “Blade&Soul 2,” “Blade&Soul M,” Netmarble’s ”Seven Knights 2” and Nexon’s “Traha,” “Dragon Hound,” “Project BBQ” and “Kartrider IP.” Shiftup also has a new project involving Unreal that is set to be revealed Thursday.
Epic Games Korea’s next official event is scheduled for May 14, when the two-day developers gathering Unreal Summit will take place at InterContinental Grand Seoul Parnas in Gangnam, Seoul.
By Lim Jeong-yeo (firstname.lastname@example.org)