NCsoft turning Japanese

MMO giant from Korea accelerates globalization push; builds out Japan operation, adds dev studio to create games for pan-Asian marketplace.

Tack Jin (TJ) Kim, the small-statured founder and CEO of Korean MMO giant NCsoft, is anything but diminutive when it comes to business. It took him only days after meeting game designer Richard Garriott to know the Ultima creator was the right person to head up NCsoft's US operation--and he hired Garriott less than 72 hours after the game designer's non-compete clause with Electronic Arts expired back in May of 2001.

Since founding NCsoft in 1997, the company has grown to be Korea's biggest and most profitable online game operation, with subsidiaries in the US and Europe, and joint ventures in Japan, China, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Today, the company said it was further solidifying its presence in Japan by establishing a wholly-owned subsidiary, to be called NCsoft Japan KK, that will focus on game development and localization.

NCsoft already has a Japan-based joint venture up and running--with local partner Softbank--which provides customer support and marketing for NCsoft games currently targeted to that market. That JV was started in 2001 and supports both Lineage and Lineage II. According to documents, the Japan operation contributes 20 percent of worldwide revenues to the Seoul-based company.

The new development studio will act as a base for the creation of "online casual games" and "MMO games" for the Japanese and pan-Asian gamer, according to the company. The move is reflective of Kim's "global infrastructure, local content" strategy he has espoused for years--a strategy he presented in a Game Developers Conference solo appearance in March 2003.

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Discussion

24 comments
Alzig
Alzig

*i thought everyone in korea was playing world of warcraft?* Some died while playing Star craft, some died while playing diablo2, and more died while playing world of warcraft. =p

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

i thought everyone in korea was playing world of warcraft?

MrBurns
MrBurns

"turning japanese" Ha, thats great.

lstr
lstr

"Another interesting thing will be how the Koreans react to this news. You

flop_part3
flop_part3

NCSoft is a publisher. They did not make GuildWars, Lineage, LineageII, or City of Heroes.

Noijo
Noijo

Another interesting thing will be how the Koreans react to this news. You

Igiss
Igiss

More good MMORPGs! and please don't forget about Europe.

247k
247k

They're turning japanese huh!

Perth68
Perth68

this is just more evidence to me of Ncsoft having a bright future. Their strategy is pretty solid and they release quality games. Impressive to say the least.

snyper16
snyper16

Just one more step towards Japan's conquering of the world!!! Oh wait, that's China.

floydfire
floydfire

I am just hoping they will bring some games to consoles as I think the japanese are more likely to try a mmorpg on there terms instead of being forced to play on a pc

forever_blank
forever_blank

I think they are an amazing company, the way they just... well release such fantastic games.. I really think there is something special about them.

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

NCSoft is doing quite well, and I hope they enjoy a nice measure of success in Japan. I always heard that PC gaming wasn't that popular in Japan, though, so this could be interesting - they may have to break the barriers betwen Japanese leariness towards foreign games/genres, and the Japanese preference for consoles. But, if they can get in early and stay there successfully, then they've got a nice market that will probably only expand. Nice setup - make one game (the bulk/core of the work), then spread it out over all these territories with the appropriate translations/localizations (which shouldn't hold a candle to the dev costs). Pay off the core work at at an accelerated rate (one would hope), and reach profitability faster. Repeat for a different genre (COH/COV), or for a different audiance (how similar, yet different, are Guild Wars and Lineage II?). Their games might not have the spotlight like WoW does right now, but I'm sure the numbers are making them happy, and the diversity of games they offer makes me happy!

hittin
hittin

NCsoft are a good company..

fli_guy84
fli_guy84

lineage, lineage II, city of heroes and last but not least: guild wars are among the games published by ncsoft. did you guys even know that ncsoft owns arenanet?

Qiron
Qiron

NCsoft is a very good company. It's important to look at the games they have published and look at how different they are - City of Heroes, Guild Wars, Auto Assault. The list is long.

reallaughingman
reallaughingman

there is a reason that they are making a japan company, they have great power to make and break a electronic company. If they didnt invest in that market completly it would be a huge mistake. Now if they only make shoters so i would give a f## about there games lol. I do not have a big intrest in morps, or whaterver the acrinime is. Anyway, best of luck.

Oni
Oni

That's pretty cool. MMO's are huge over there in Asia, so it makes sense they expand their market to Japan.

MetaMods
MetaMods

they do make good MMORPG, so expanding the company is good thinking

superkoolstud
superkoolstud

How many MMOs does NCsoft have out, and is in development? I have lost count.

niko44
niko44

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Donkeljohn
Donkeljohn

A wholly owned subsidiary? Impressive step to corner a MMORPG market.

frankeyser
frankeyser

i really do think this company puts out amazing games. especially for a newer studio.