Two years ago today marks the date when KakaoTalk, Korea's most popular mobile messaging application, made the first move that made the company rich. On July 30, 2012, the company launched its KakaoGame service, combining an online mobile gaming marketplace with its free instant messaging application. It began by offering ten games from 7 partners, with a twist - each game was designed to let friends who were already connected to its instant messaging platform compete with and cooperate with each other. Each person playing a game could see the high scores of all of their friends, and also had the opportunities to share resources with them.
It was a good twist, and has resulted in KakaoTalk earning 560 billion won (US$547 million) in revenue in the first half of 2014, which is a 60 percent year-on-year growth. Not only that, but experts say that KakaoGame is primarily responsible for creating a new market in the country. The total market size of Korea's mobile game market was only 423 billion won (US$413 million) in 2011, but had grown into a 1.2 trillion won (US$1.1 billion) market at the end of last year.
“As KakaoGame reigns as the market leader and continues to advance the growth of the gaming population and industry, we are focused on delivering the highest quality and most captivating gaming experience to our users,” said Kane Lee, International PR Team Leader from Kakao. “We look forward to collaborating with our existing and new partners around the world to introduce more exciting titles to our Kakao gamers in the most convenient manner.”
Now, as other social media apps like Twitter and Facebook struggle with profitability and an unhappy user base, there are 520 games from more than 230 developers on the KakaoGame platform. All of the games in total have approximately 520 million subscriptions, and more than 20 million KakaoTalk users play games on the platform each month. The average gamer plays 5.2 times per week, almost every day. By all metrics, the platform is a rousing success.