Korea’s top three game developers turned in disappointing results in the third quarter as the popularity of existing games has declined, while the launch of new games is being delayed, according to sources on Friday.
The combined sales of Nexon, NCSoft and Netmarble Games came to 1.62 trillion won ($1.43 billion) in the July-September period, down 15.5 percent from a year ago. By company, Nexon topped the revenue list with 696.1 billion won, up 13.2 percent from a year ago, followed by Netmarble with 526 billion won and NCSoft with 403.8 billion won.
NCSoft and Netmarble suffered from a sales decline due to a delay in new game releases since a mandatory 52-hour work week system was introduced, whereas Nexon continued growth driven by steady sales from PC online games such as Dungeon & Fighter and Maple Story, and overseas market expansion. Their expansion to China also received a setback as they are not likely to receive a go-ahead from Chinese regulators within this year.
The combined operating profit of the three game developers fell 33.8 percent to 444.4 billion won in the aforementioned period. NCSoft saw its operating profit tumble by 57.6 percent and Netmarble posted a 39.8 percent decrease. Nexon managed to report a 3.0 percent rise.
The game industry pin their hope on new games to be released in the fourth quarter and next year. Nexon is due to release new mobile games such as The Kingdoms of the Winds and Mabinogi Mobile. It will also be responsible for global publishing of game titles to be developed by Swedish game developer Embark Studios. Earlier, Nexon announced a major strategic investment in Embark Studios founded by notable game industry veteran Patrick Söderlund.
Netmarble has expectations for the Korean release of Blade & Soul Revolution, an MMORPG online game, on Dec. 6 and A3: Still Alive and Seven Knights II next year. NCSoft will launch five mobile games including Lineage II M in the first quarter of next year.
By Lee Yong-ik and Minu Kim
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