Game developers are going in the cryptocurrency-related industry one after another because they believe that they can make profit immediately and the structure of virtual currency can create a synergy with game money in the long term.
According to IT industry source on January 22, NHN Entertainment Corp. will invest in OKCoin, which is planning to set up a cryptocurrency exchange with a goal of starting business in South Korea by the end of February, through its subsidiary NHN Investment Co. NHN Entertainment is not the first game company that makes an investment in digital currency exchanges.
Nexon Co., the largest video game firm in South Korea, acquired a 65.19 percent stake in Korbit, one of the nation’s three biggest cryptocurrency exchanges at that time, for 91.3 billion won (US$85.21 million) through its holding company NXC Corp. in September last year. Small and mid-size companies are also entering the related industry at every level. Mgame Corp. is to establish a subsidiary specializing in mining virtual currencies by the end of this month, while HanbitSoft Inc. plans to develop its own cryptocurrencies.
Game firms are aggressively launching out on digital currency related business as they expect that virtual currencies can create profit in an instant with a growing volume of transactions and create a synergy with their existing business – game money.
NHN Entertainment plainly claims that it is investing in OKCoin for its financial improvement but the industry thinks that NHN Entertainment will strengthen a synergy between its self-developed games and simple payment service provider “Payco,” starting with the investment. Currently, Nexon is also able to introduce a trading function through digital currencies at any time when legal regulations on game money are lifted.
In addition, the structure of cryptocurrency-related business, including the fact that personal computers are used to mine virtual currencies, is attractive to small and mid-size game developers as they are seeking to use their idle infrastructure invested before with a widening gap between “3N” – Nexon, Netmarble Games and NCSoft, the three largest companies in the industry, and small and mid-size companies.
However, many point out that game companies should make an investment with prudence as the market has become oversaturated and the government is aggressively seeking to impose restrictions on cryptocurrency exchanges. An official from the game industry said, “Digital currency exchanges will be narrowed down into one or two at the end. When the real-name system for cryptocurrency accounts is introduced under the current circumstances with such a high price volatility, virtual currencies will not be of wide use in games than expected.”