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This Week In Korean Online Gaming News: From NCsoft To Mobile Game Ratings

This Week In Korean Online Gaming News: From NCsoft To Mobile Game Ratings

July 8, 2011 | By Eric Caoili

[Gamasutra rounds up the week's biggest reports on South Korea's booming online games market from This Is Game, the leading English-language site about the country's game industry.]

In our latest round-up of news from South Korea's online games space, we look at NCsoft's likely acquisition of Pangya developer Ntreev Soft, Chinese operators localizing local titles for the Korean market, and revisions to how mobile games are evaluated before release.

NCsoft Likely To Take Over Ntreev Soft

Seoul-based online game developer and publisher NCsoft (Guild Wars, Aion) is in talks with SK Telecom to purchase its online gaming subsidiary Ntreev Soft, best known for creating multiplayer golf game Pangya.

SK Telecom has made been trying to sell Ntreev Soft since 2010, and other South Korean firms previously expressed interest, including NHM and Nexon. NCsoft was reportedly selected as the top buyer, and could finish negotiations by the end of the month.

Along with taking over Pangya, NCsoft would also add Ntreev's Pro Baseball Manager to is catalog -- which not only generates over $2.8 million per month but would also complement the publisher's recently established professional baseball team.

Chinese Games Invade Korean Market

Though Chinese operators have found tremendous success in localizing online games from South Korea, such as Wemade's Legend of Mir series, those companies are now making efforts to bolster their presence in South Korea and release Chinese titles in that region.

Kunlun set up an office in South Korea last month, and will launch four web games and one MMORPG this year. The9 also created a Korean branch with plans to release Chinese MMOs, and Tencent allegedly intends to expand its Korean operations as well.

"We are very eager to succeed in Korea, [the major space for online games]," said a Kunlun official. "We are aggressively investing in our Korean branch. We expect to have as many as 100 employees at Kunlun Korea, where we currently have only 20 employees."

Open Market Law Revises Mobile Game Ratings

Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism announced that the country's Game Ratings Board will no longer assess games made available on feature phones, smartphones, and tablet computers -- with the exception of titles featuring gambling and adult content.

Starting this week, mobile app stores, such as those from Apple and Google, are tasked with reviewing games before they release on their platforms, and will deliver reports of their evaluations to the Game Ratings Board within a month.

In the past, all games required a review by the Game Ratings Board before they could be made available on App Stores. Google and Apple were unsatisfied with those terms and shut down their local app stores until Korea passed its new "Open Market" Law.

[This story was written with the permission of, and using material from ThisIsGame Global, the leading English-language site about the South Korean game industry.]

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