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Wemade founder joins game billionaire list

Wemade founder and Chairman Park Kwan-ho. (Wemade)
Wemade founder and Chairman Park Kwan-ho. (Wemade)

Park Kwan-ho, the chairman of game developer Wemade, joined South Korea’s game billionaires last week as the company’s valuation soared following the growing popularity of its new game, which is based on the blockchain technology.

Park, 49, saw his stock value reaching 3.3 trillion won ($2.77 billion) as of Thursday, which makes him the 10th richest man among individuals owning stocks in domestic listed companies, according to local market data provider FnGuide. Park, the largest shareholder of Wemade, owned 14.8 million shares, or 44.61 percent, in the game maker he founded in 2000 as of the end of September, the company’s quarterly report showed.

Among game company heads, Park is now the second wealthiest, after Chang Byung-gyu, the chairman of Krafton, the game studio behind hugely popular PlayerUnknown‘s Battlegrounds. Chang’s stock value in Krafton, which went public on August 10, reached 3.8 trillion won as of Thursday and was the country’s 8th largest stockholder.

Park’s emergence as one of the country‘s wealthiest men came as the share price of Wemade soared a whopping 494.5 percent in three months from August 18. Wemade was the steepest rising stock during the same period, followed by Wemade Max, the blockchain-based game creator under the umbrella of Wemade, which jumped 462.41 percent. On Friday, the company’s stock price further increased by 4.64 percent to close at 237,000 won.

During the three months, Wemade unveiled the massively multiplayer online role-playing game Mir4, which attracted as many as 1.3 million concurrent users globally on Nov. 12, and also introduced WeMix, a platform where users can trade non-fungible tokens. The game applies a ‘play to earn’ scheme and NFTs.

‘Play to Earn,’ or P2E, allows users to convert in-game resources into tradable crypto assets, and game makers and users alike are increasingly adopting the blockchain technologies. South Korea’s other small and large game companies, including NCSoft, Kakao Games, Webzen, Gamevil, Com2Us, and Pearl Abyss, recently announced plans to launch games using ‘P2E’ and NFTs.

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