April 12, 2011

The Development of Korean Online Games in the Past 10 Years

What's the past 10 years mean to South Korean online games? The past 10 years can be said as a developmental history of magnificence, in the company of repeatedly refreshed records and an expanding market. Recently, South Korean media have used 5 keywords to describe the various milestones that have been created by Korean online games in the past 10 years.

1. Blockbuster – Great MMORPGs

The word that has been revolving around South Korean game enterprises over the past 10 years is just "blockbuster". From Lineage 2 in 2003 and Aion in 2008 to TERA, Blade & Soul and ArcheAge this year, blockbusters are always the core that South Korean enterprises work on in terms of game development. Particularly, following WoW, the blockbuster MMORPGs from the companies like NCsoft and NHN are prized as "anticipated titles" every year.

Lineage 2 featuring fine 3D graphics broke out from the rest in the past generation led by 2D online games, and reaped a good harvest by attracting 150,000 simultaneous online players. WoW, presented by Blizzard and endowed with rich cultural elements, even enjoys fairly wide popularity among players.

Consequently, words like "we're more striking", "xxx billion Korean Won cost" and "xxx years spent" caught on. We should be no stranger to the anticipated Korea-made games coming out in the past several years, including RF Online (2004), Zera (2005), Soul of the Ultimate Nation (2006), Granado Espada (2006) and Ragnarok Online 2 (2007).

2. Innovation - Casual Games

In the age when Lineage, Lineage 2 and MU Online competed with each other desperately, Nexon's Crazy Racing Kart Rider showed up splendidly in 2004 and became an online game widely acknowledged by South Korean players promptly, leading casual games to seize the market. Since 2004, a series of games such as Pangya and Free Style have been standing among the top 10 South Korean online games, in company with the more and more mature & powerful casual sports games and casual dance & music games in the South Korean market.

With the release of games such as FIFA Online, MaguMagu and SD Gundam Online, sports games began to secure a foothold on the market. Up to now, casual games have secured half of the top 10 places on the South Korean online game charts, which really shocks the blockbuster MMORPG developers. Casual games have become an instrument that tons of Korean game companies use to make fortune.

3. Gunfight – FPS/TPS

Online FPS/TPS games have always been what Korean game companies are skilled in. The third largest game company in South Korea – Neowiz is even a professional online shooter producer, and has presented itself as a new game tycoon by beating NHN easily only with the help of FPS and sports games.

There are also many familiar highlights among the numerous FPS games. For example, titles including Cross Fire, Counter Strike Online, Special Force, A.V.A and Sudden Attack have fulfilled players' desire for gamepaly in large measure.

From this year, sequels to a variety of online FPS games, like Special Force 2, will be launched into development. It's believed that such games will play a very important role in South Korean game companies' growth in the future.

4. Incredible – Side-scrolling Online Games

The overwhelming appearance of side-scrolling online games similar to FC ones can be said to be incredible. Dungeon Fighter Online and MapleStory, which stand for the best Korea-made side-scrolling online games, have been listed among the top 5 online games for long.

Side-scrolling online games take the casualness and the appeal to the young as its major advantages, and will be hotter this year as games including Fighters Club, Rusty Hearts and Zombie Online go into operation.

5. Specialty – Action RPGs

With the success of Dungeon Fighter Online, RPGs came back to people's sight again. The three 3D APRGs - C9, Vindictus and Dragon Nest have been crowned as the "Big 3" Korean action games since 2008, which injects new life into the popularization of ARPGs. The three games' OBTs have also spiced up the Asian ARPG market in the recent two years. In particular, Dragon Nest, which's the last to carry out OBT among the three, enjoys super high popularity in the areas like China and Southeast Asia, and thus has made Korean online RPGs well received.

Credits: MMOsite

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