South Korean game companies are preparing to launch potential blockbuster mobile titles in the last quarter of this year, hoping to boost their bottom line.
NCSoft is staking its bet on the mobile 3D massively multiplayer game Lineage2M -- the game investors and venture capitalists as well as fans of the original Lineage game have been doggedly asking about from the beginning of this year.
Advance sign-ups for Lineage2M began Sept. 5 and broke the 1 million threshold within seven hours, then escalated to 2 million in 18 hours and 3 million in five days. The record surpasses that of its predecessor, Lineage M, which raked in 1 trillion won ($845 million) in annual revenue for NCSoft.
Image from Lineage2M (NCSoft)
The exact launch date for Lineage2M is yet to be known.
The high-end, low-latency 3D graphics for Lineage2M, and the immense play area within the game, which stretches over a virtual 102.5 million square-meter landmass estimated to be about 35 times the size of Seoul’s business district Yeouido, is similar in description to Nexon’s mobile game Traha.
Traha launched in April this year to much fanfare, but the heat did not last long. The game ranked 34th on Korea’s Google Play and 49th on Apple’s App Store on Monday in terms of revenue among game apps, falling short of initial expectations.
Nexon, the biggest game developer in Korea, plans to launch a number of games in the near future but the one nearest to launch appears to be the mobile MMORPG game V4, or Victory Four.
V4 is being developed by Nexon affiliate NAT Games, headed by Park Yong-hyun. Park was the team leader for Lineage 2 at NCSoft. He left the company in 2008 and joined Bluehole, where he led the project to develop the online game Tera. He left Bluehole in 2015 and established NAT Games, where he made the games HIT and OVERHIT.
More information about V4 will be unveiled Sept. 27 at a press and influencer event in Seoul.
Netmarble, the self-professed mobile-game specialist company, had released K-pop idol-related game BTS World in the first half and opened the second half of 2019 with Koongya Catch Mind, a draw-and-guess game that is receiving positive feedback from users as a fresh attempt in the MMORPG-heavy market.
The company will continue the momentum in the fourth quarter with Seven Knights 2 and A3:Still Alive.
Pearl Abyss will globally launch Black Desert Mobile in the fourth quarter. The game will become available internationally in all countries where it was not serviced before -- excluding China, where separate governmental approval is needed to enter the market.
Black Desert Mobile is developed and distributed by Pearl Abyss since February 2018. Taiwan was the first foreign country where the game launched, in August 2018, followed by Japan in February 2019.
Another game to watch out for is the upcoming Legendary Moonlight Sculptor, developed by XLGames. XLGames CEO Jake Song is the brains behind Nexon’s Tale of the Wind and NCSoft’s Lineage. Song co-founded Nexon with Kim Jung-ju but left the company before Tale of the Wind launched. He is one of the few game company CEOs still actively involved in developing.
Legendary Moonlight Sculptor will be published by Kakao Games. Kakao Games also published the mobile MMORPG game Tera Classic in August.
By Lim Jeong-yeo (email@example.com