NCsoft Chief Lands New Hit with Online Game

      May 19, 2009 07:55

      "In the on-line game industry, you either win or you lose. Even if you spend a lot of money to develop a new game, there's a greater chance of failure than success. But if you give it all you've got, you see some good results and that adds to the allure of this industry."

      Kim Taek-jin (42) is the president of NCsoft, Korea's top online game developer, which has just produced another hit with "Aion." Since being released in Korea in November, "Aion" has been generating an average W14 billion (US$1=W1,262) in monthly sales.

      Since its launch in China last month, "Aion" has already drawn a million gamers there, generating W20 billion in sales from advance reservations. As a result, NCsoft's total market capitalization surged to W3.65 trillion as of the end of trading on Friday. Kim, with a 26.7 percent stake in the company, has joined the small club of Korean stock trillionaires. It is quite an achievement for a company founded just 12 years ago.

      Kim Taek-jin

      But in an interview at NCsoft headquarters in Samseong-dong on May 7, Kim sounded cautious. "We have a long way to go in terms of releasing 'Aion' in Japan, Europe, Taiwan, the United States and around the world, even though we got off to good starts in Korea and China," he said.

      The rising value of his company seemed to serve as a chance for people to look more positively at the online gaming industry. He added his goal was not to make his company grow in size but to get it recognized as a pioneer in the industry.

      In the first quarter of this year, "Aion" generated W42.6 billion in sales in Korea alone. That exceeds the W41.1 billion achieved by "Lineage 2," which had been the existing breadwinner for NCsoft. "Aion" is expected to achieve global sales of W200 billion this year. Backed by Aion, NCsoft aims to generate sales of W500 billion this year, up 40 percent from 2008. The digital game business, which does not require investment in raw materials, is a high value-added industry where 30 percent of sales end up as net profits.

      "Koreans embrace a variety of different cultures from around the world and have the ability to use this to create new content," Kim said. "I am confident that the online game industry will grow into Korea's top export industry."

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