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Korean Mobile Games Become Huge Hits in US
Foray into US Market
Korean Mobile Games Become Huge Hits in US
  • By Cho Jin-young
  • May 23, 2018, 11:15
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The image of Iron Throne, a massively multiplayer online (MMO) strategy game developed by Popplet, a subsidiary of Netmarble.
The image of Iron Throne, a massively multiplayer online (MMO) strategy game developed by Popplet, a subsidiary of Netmarble.

South Korean game developers are putting up a good show in the U.S. mobile game market. Seven out of the top 50 companies listed in the U.S. mobile game index is South Korean gaming service providers.

According to mobile app analyst App Annie on May 22, “Iron Throne” developed by a subsidiary of Netmarble Games Corp. was ranked at No. 8 on the list of “New Free Games” of Google Play on the 19th (local time) in the U.S. Google Play allows users to download new games that have been released in the past 60 days at no charge through “New Free Games.” “Iron Throne,” which was developed by Popplet, a subsidiary of Netmarble, is a massively multiplayer online (MMO) strategy game that Netmarble hopes it becomes the most popular one in North America.

“Battlegrounds Mobile,” which was co-developed by PUBG Corp. and Tencent, ranked eighth on Google Play’s game app list as of the 19th. It took first place on the first day of the release. This is largely due to a high recognition from Player Unknown's Battlegrounds, or PUBG, the original online game developed by PUBG. The original game sold 4.2 million units and generated cumulative sales of 1.3 trillion won (US$1.2 billion) after U.S. PC game platform STEAM was launched in March last year.

All eyes are on whether these games will be able to exceed the popularity of “Summoners War: Sky Arena” developed by Com2uS Corp. that became a hit in the U.S. market. “Summoners War,” which started global servicing in June 2014, came in fifth and fourth on the download and sales rankings of Google Play in the U.S., respectively. The game ranked No. 23 on the game app sales ranking of Google Play in the U.S. as of the 19th.

In addition to these games, an increasing number of South Korean games are under the spotlight in the U.S. mobile game market. There are five South Korean games that ranked among the top 50 in terms of app market sales, which are regarded as a break-even point in the U.S. mobile game market.

Netmarble’s “Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery” and “Marvel All Star Battle” took 21st and 17th places on the sales ranking of Google Play, respectively, as of the 19th. “Choices: Stories You Play,” a storytelling game developed by Pixelberry Studios, a U.S. subsidiary of NEXON Co., came in 26th in terms of game app sales on the Apple App Store on the same day.

According to a report titled “2017 South Korea’s gaming white paper” published by the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA), the U.S. mobile game market is forecast to grow to US$10.16 billion (11.4 trillion won) this year from US$7.46 billion (8.1 trillion won) in 2016. The U.S. is the third largest mobile game market in the world and is twice as big as South Korea.


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