2010 was indeed a busy year for social game developers in Korea. New social gaming platforms were launched by major portal sites, many new start-ups as well as online game developers have entered the market, and success stories from small start-ups were introduced here and there. With the growing interest from both inside and outside the market, information about the current trend becomes more pressing. And still, the thought that useful information must be shared around has unchanged and thanks to Nate AppStore for being on the same side by sharing precious information with everyone.
Archive for Category ‘Industry‘
14 Dec. 2010, Nate launched its new mobile social gaming service, Nate AppStore Beta Application for Androids. Now available for download at T-Store, Nate AppStore Beta Application allows users to access social games on Nate AppStore in Adroid 2.2 (Froyo) devices.
With just one time log-in, users can access their favorite games in “My Apps” page or full list of games in “Apps List” page. Game data as well as friends list is also interlinked with web-based platform, which makes it convenient for users to play and manage their games anywhere at any time. Users can also purchase virtual items with Dotori just like they do on web.
As a tip from Nate, puzzle/quiz games are more suitable for mobile devices since it generates smaller traffic compared to other genres. Initially taking off with six games, Nate AppStore expects more and more games to join the mobile stream. Since smart phone users mark up to 6.8 million (aprox. 15% of Korean population) and has grown 8.5 times the previous year (2009), this trend is expected to enlarge the social gaming pie even bigger. Androids appear to be strong in the Korean smart phone market, yet to maximize the coverage of smart phone users, developing mobile service for iPhone is pressing. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that taking the initiative to expand to mobile devices is a great plus to both Nate and developers.
*** View introductory movie clip of Nate AppStore Beta Application ***
Korea’s biggest international game trade show G-Star was successfully held in Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (Bexco) from 18 to 21 Nov. 2010. Turning 6th year, the annual game show hosted over 316 companies and 300,000 visitors worldwide.
As part of the show, social game seminar was held on 19 November, inviting guest speakers from major foreign companies such as Playdom, RockYou! Asia, Playfish, Kabam, 6 Waves, and Second Wave. From projecting the future of social gaming industry in Asia to publishing games in Facebook, social gaming experts delivered insightful presentations to the show.
Moreover, 2010 G-Star has also provided a good field of opportunities to both foreign and Korean developers to expand their businesses abroad through B2B meetings. 193 exhibitors from 22 countries have signed over 166 contracts, bringing down about 200 million USD. Business parties were also hosted throughout the show for direct social networking.
Overall, 2010 G-Star was a great success. With more and more foreign developers participating, G-Star has fully earned its reputation as the leading international game festival. Also mobile and social games have established themselves as an important genre, joining the mainstream of the gaming industry. In 2011 G-Star, we hope to see more social gaming events and exhibitions in the show.
Unlike Facebook and other major social game platform, not too many about Korean social game industry is revealed to the public. On one hand, it may be an “Asian courtesy” for platform service providers to hide its customers’ private information from their competitors. On the other hand, it may create an entrance barrier and suppress new developers from entering the market. Nevertheless, believing in the fact that freedom of information is harmless to fair market competition, Rubicon Games Inc. suggested Nate AppStore Open Social Team to share their statistics and information as much as possible. Gratefully, Nate AppStore agreed upon revealing more information for both domestic and foreign developers who are interested in publishing their games in Korea. However, please note that stats were given in bundles of genre, due to privacy issues.
The biggest portal service, Naver, launched its AppStore ”Social Apps“ on 30 Sept. 2010. Is it a coincidence or an intention? Social App’s launch date overlaps with that of Nate, which launched its Nate AppStore last year in late September. Whatever the underlying meaning may be, Naver’s presence itself has great implications in the Korean social gaming industry. Before any further approach, understanding of Naver is prerequisite.
Naver, which initially started off as a search engine back in 1999, now expands its business model to multiple platforms such as blog, cafe, and Me2Day. According to Naver, currently they have over 18 million blogs, 6 million Cafes, and 2 million Me2Days (Me2Day is a similar service to Twitter), excluding potential users who simply use the search engine without subscription. As mentioned in one of our previous blog posts, Naver attracted many developers (both domestic and foreign) to publish their games on their platforms by giving various incentives. As a result, 32 developers have published 47 apps by the first day of launch.
Naver’s Social Apps, however, takes a different approach in virality. Utilizing its blogs is somewhat similar to that of Nate’s Cyworld, but as Nate AppStore expanded its pool from Nate to NateOn, Naver uses its 6 million “Cafes” as a leverage. Naver Cafe is a name, which refers to user community or clubs. What is significant about Naver Cafe is that games are played within the Cafe members only. In other words, even if someone plays the same game in two different Cafes, his/her user data will be different in each container. This makes it difficult for users to play simulation games that requires mass storage of user data. Thus simulation games, which requires continuous play time, will tend to lean towards blogs and Me2Day networks. Another interesting feature is that the Cafe master or staff members have full authority to choose which games to be installed in their Cafes. Big Cafes with more than million members, will have bargaining power over game developers who are willing to acquire big pool of users. Are we expecting some kind of lobby in the social game biz now? No one knows.
(Picture reference: Naver)
Naver, the leading portal service versus Nate, the leading SNS is indeed a big match to watch. Whether they will lead the way as a partner or a rival, Korea’s social gaming industry has definitely entered its second phase of growth, providing more rooms for developers and publishers to penetrate in the market. As a developer, we look forward to Naver’s success as a platform provider.