Nexon touts numbers, taps Source

Microtransaction-based MMO MapleStory hits 3 million registered users in North America; publisher taps Valve's Source engine for next project.

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Attracting users to a massively multiplayer online game is a lot easier when admission is free. Still, logging 3 million registered users to an MMO in less than four months of release is impressive, subscription or not.

Nexon America Inc. today announced that its first release, the fantasy role-playing game MapleStory, has amassed 3 million registered users since its release in the region in late November 2006. To date, MapleStory has almost 60 million users across the globe, claims Nexon.

MapleStory works on the microtransaction-based business model of MMO games, which sees players paying for in-game items and upgrades rather than pay for the game and fork over a monthly subscription fee.

While MapleStory is a simple 2D game with cartoonish graphics, Nexon's next project will apparently be a bit more technologically advanced. The company has announced that is will be using Valve's Source engine, which powers first-person games like Half-Life 2 and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, for an upcoming PC third-person fantasy title.

Seoul, Korea-based Nexon has produced several hits in the Asian MMO market, including the popular Kart Rider. The next release set for North America is the MMO dance game Audition, which will be served up in April.

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