nexon: Japanese gaming company Nexon plans Western expansion

nexon: Japanese gaming company Nexon plans Western expansion

Japanese gaming company Nexon is planning Western expansion

The Japanese The creator of one of the longest-running online role-playing game titles, whose most popular video game has attracted nearly a billion registered users, is gearing up for global expansion and targeting the West.

Nexon Co. Ltd., little known outside Asia, is one of the world’s 10 largest video game companies by market capitalization; its $ 22 billion valuation is greater than Take-Two Interactive, the company behind “Grand Theft Auto” or Roblox.

Last year, the acquisition of Stockholm-based Embark Studios was completed, whose founders led the development of the successful “Battlefield” franchise. In 2022, it invested $ 400 million in a minority stake in AGBO, the independent studio founded by Anthony and Joe Russo, the creative duo who directed Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame” and “Avengers: Infinity War.”

“The idea is to combine what we are really good at – to make a virtual world last and grow forever – with what they are really good at,” Nexon CEO Owen Mahoney told Reuters.

Nexon is collaborating with AGBO to explore ways to expand its game series to film or television and to develop virtual worlds or video games inspired by AGBO’s films.

“Our vision, which is in good agreement with Nexons, realizes that the audience has begun to expect real immersion in the IP they care about the most,” says AGBO’s CEO Jason Bergsman.

The two companies are in early talks about adapting Nexon franchises such as “MapleStory” and “Dungeon and Fighter”, which have rich knowledge and passionate fan bases. These talks are still at a preliminary stage, warns a source with direct knowledge of the situation.

They also discuss a game or a virtual world inspired by “Battle of the Planets”, an iconic Japanese animated show from the 1970s that AGBO is developing as a feature film.

Mahoney hopes to take advantage of Nexon’s experience of running “live games” – updating titles while they’re running – to launch big budget titles with Western sensibilities, such as the free-to-play shooter “ARC Raiders” from Embark Studios.

Embark’s founder, Patrick Soderlund, once led Dice, the company that developed the “Battlefield” franchise and was acquired by Electronic Arts when Mahoney was in charge of mergers and acquisitions there.

Virtual World Pioneer

Nexon has persistently avoided the frenzy surrounding the “metaverse” that has gripped tech giants like Microsoft and Facebook.

“No one can define it and most importantly, they can not define why it’s so damn good,” Mahoney said. “It’s a big nothing burger.”

Nexon was an early user of features that have become commonplace in the industry, including in-game virtual currencies and the free-to-play business model.

These features were rolled out in games like Nexon’s “KartRider” racing game, which has been running for almost two decades – one of what the company calls its “forever franchises”.

Its most popular franchise, the arcade-like fighting game “Dungeon and Fighter”, has earned more than $ 20 billion since 2005 – more than the combined ticket revenue from the “Star Wars” or “Harry Potter” movie series.

A major new challenge as part of Nexon’s expansion will generate returns from higher-budget Western games.

“Nexon does not have much of a track record when it comes to running photorealistic games for hardcore gamers,” wrote Citigroup analysts in March, beginning coverage of the stock at “neutral.”

Nexon wants to control the cost of developing titles at a time when the budget exceeds $ 100 million. For example, it uses machine learning techniques to animate certain character actions instead of relying on workers.

“I do not really care what happens in the first one or two quarters,” Mahoney said. “What I care about is what happens from year two to 20.”

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