Local game developers are entering the cryptocurrency market one after another. NXC, the holding company of Nexon, Mgame and PATI Games are preparing for digital currency business. The industry believes that such move is a strategic investment to create synergy with gaming business.
According to industry sources on December 14, PATI Games is planning to push into the virtual currency market based on subscribers of online game item trade sites – Item Mania and Item Bay. The company acquired a 37.32 percent stake in B&M Holdings, a holding company of Item Mania and Item Bay, in May this year.
Kang Yoon-koo, CEO at PATI Games and director of the IR unit at Moda, said, “We are going to break into the cryptocurrency market with simultaneous strategies in order to operate the system that exchanges game mileage which are being used by more than 10 million of Item Mania and Item Bay subscribers into digital currencies.” The game mileage is used to buy and sell game items at the websites of Item Mania and Item Bay. Buyers need to pay the price of game items offered by sellers with mileage. One mileage has the value of 1 won and users can put money into their accounts with credit card and cash.
Kang said, “We will introduce our own digital currency exchange next year. We are now considering strategic partnerships and investment so that users can exchange their game mileages at Item Mania and Item Bay into virtual currencies even on other digital coin exchanges at home and abroad.” Currently, holding company Moda is in talks with Japan’s Metaps and two other domestic cryptocurrency exchanges. The amount of annual item transactions at Item Mania and Item Bay is about 1 trillion won (US$918.27 million).
NXC spent over 90 billion won (US$82.64 million) on taking over a 65.19 percent stake in Korbit, one of the nation’s three largest bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges, in September this year. The industry sees its move as the investment to create synergy with Nexon’s game business as well as to boost the sales and profits of NXC through virtual currency transaction fees at the Korbit. Nexon is preparing for the system that enables users to exchange game money which is being used in different games on service. The company is highly likely to use the Korbit to allow users to exchange game money into digital currencies, according to market watchers. Lee Jae-gyo, executive director at NXC, said, “We acquired the Korbit because we thought the cryptocurrency market has a great growth potential. We don’t have any plans to connect it with our gaming business.”
Mgame will establish its subsidiary related to digital currency and blockchain in January next year. Blockchain is centralized transaction record for virtual currencies. The company plans to develop blockchain that is to be used in online game activity information and reward based on digital coin mining business. Mining is the act of participating in cryptocurrency computing operation, including transaction authentication. Miners receive a certain amount of digital coins in return.