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The Western and Eastern MMO market

Posted by Gameloading Monday July 16 2007 at 8:03PM
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I often discuss the MMORPG market with other people. Which MMO will be the next MMO to dominate the market? Will an MMO do well or will it fail? What company will reigh supreme? Things like that. I often refer to the asian MMO market, and people often ask me "Why?". Why should we, as western gamers, care what happens on the other side of the world? Who cares which games are popular in Korea, China or Japan? Well here is why.

The most obvious answer is ofcourse, without the asian market, we would have less games to play. No Lineage 2, No Ragnarok Online, No Silkroad, etc. Now you can like or hate those games, But they do cause more competition in the western market. But there is more to it.

Lets take NCsoft for an example. Everybody knows NCsoft. NCsoft became the company it is today thanks to Lineage. Lineage is still to this day one of the most successfull MMO's in the world. NCsoft reported that, at one point, Lineage had 3 million active subscribers. To compare, Everquest peak was about 500.000 subscribers. Almost all of those subscribers are from Asia.
Its safe to say that it was Lineage that made NCsoft the biggest MMO publisher in the world.
Because of its success in Asia, NCsoft was able to publish not only asian games, but western games as well, such as Guild Wars, Auto Assault, City of Heroes. There are more companies who let asian companies publish their games. Flagship studios lets Namco publish Hellgate london in the west, while Hanbitsoft & The9 take care of the publishing in korea and china. All points bulletin will be published by Webzen. Tabula Rasa will be published by NCsoft. Gravity Corp made an investment of 8,5 million KWN in perpetual entertainment, the company behind Gods & Heroes.

The Asian market has a direct impact on our market, its that simple. Discussing the MMORPG market without the asian market is like discussing the console wars without including Nintendo.

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