Nexon, South Korea’s largest game company, pledged on Friday to invest more in developing games. It said it will refrain from management activities centered on acquisitions and money-making. During a preview event of G-Star 2014, the company said it aims to remove its stigma as a “money hugger.”
“We want to show that we are a company which can produce novel and entertaining games, not one that only milks cash from our existing titles,” said Chung Sang-won, Nexon’s game development vice president. “So far, we have at times been driven by a sense of urgency to hurriedly roll out a title even when we could do better. But we will avoid doing so from now on to become the best in Korea.”
The company unveiled a bold marketing slogan dubbed, “The Donxon Strikes Back,” a parody of Hollywood sci-fi movie Star Wars’ fifth episode. “Donxon” is a compound word derived from “don,” which means money in Korean, and “xon” from Nexon. The expression is widely used by Korean gamers in online communities when blaming the company for being “obsessed with money”. The company said it wants to end this viewpoint.
“We are determined to put an end to our bad name by presenting more well-crafted games,” Nexon’s business division chief Lee Jung-hun said. The company, however, did not directly answer local gamers’ claims that many of the company’s games have aggressive monetization models which leave no options but to repeatedly spend money to continue to play.
“The company has to come up with good games to change the concept about us,” Chung emphasized.
Nexon said it will display 10 self-developed and 5 cooperatively published games next week, the largest-ever for the company. 9 of the 15 titles are PC-based online games. The company said it still has faith in the online segment, whose popularity is rapidly being replaced by mobile games.
“We understand online games require more investment of money, time and human resources to develop and operate. Consequently companies need to bear a heavier burden of failure, making more Korean game firms turn to the less-risky mobile sector,” Chung said. “But we believe that remaining competitive in the online sector is still important and we will continue to maintain a balance.”
Nexon CEO Park Ji-won has set 2015 as an important turning point and will release the largest number of new titles to seek a sustainable growth. Tokyo-listed Nexon recently exceeded revenue and profit forecasts for Q3 2014, though the success was due to sales in native Korea.