Nexon - the Korean company responsible for MapleStory and KartRider - has been expanding (quietly) beyond its home borders. With MapleStory already in the US and KartRider due to launch sometime in the near future, Nexon's been making a quiet-but-succesful entry into Western markets. Worlds In Motion has an interview up with Min Kim of Nexon America talking about MapleStory, KartRider, the Nexon recipe for success, and what's next for the company. Not surprisingly, great swaths of his thoughts are pretty sensible (in a market glutted with free-to-play games, yours better be fun or else no one's going to play it), but sensible and game company plans do not always go hand in hand.
... For Kim, the business model is step two. "In terms of our products doing well, it's that our games are very fun, and I think that's the core to all games that are going to be successful in terms of the business model we're in," he says. "It's one of the most competitive markets out there, because we're selling free. So unless your game is good, nobody's going to play it. There are a lot of free games, so your game really has to be very good. And once the game concept is good, then you build the business model around it. So those business models never took off because the games weren't fun. We all understand we're working with a hit-driven market and we're fortunate. I think in Korea, there are only four products that have broken the 200,000 concurrent user level. Three of those games are ours."
Nexon is not without criticism - KartRider bears a rather striking resemblance to Mario Kart, and MapleStory has left plenty of people saying 'No thanks' - but there's no question that they're a company to keep an eye on, even outside of their home turf of Korea. We'll see if they can manage their stated goal of creating the next Mario-like characters in terms of popularity and visibility.
Q & A: Nexon's Min Kim on KartRider, MapleStory and Things to Come [Worlds In Motion]