Black Desert forumgoers dug up an article in the Korea Herald from a few weeks ago that suggests publisher Kakao is using its games business (which extends well beyond Black Desert) as a “cash cow” for its other businesses.
“The [online-to-offline] business, which is considered Kakao’s future growth engine, needs some time to generate profits,” the paper quotes Meritze Securities analyst Kim Dong-hee. “The game business appears intended as a temporary cash cow.”
Note that we’re not talking about just the EU team that runs Black Desert in the west; Kakao is a South Korean internet megacorp with its fingers in many properties, including mobile chat, blog portals, music, salon booking services, and an Uber clone. Cue jokes about hair salons in video games… now.
Black Desert players have been up in arms over several recent announced changes to the game, including a de facto subscription added to the originally buy-to-play game. Yesterday, Kakao revealed it will be allowing players to purchase items from the cash shop with real money and sell them to others in-game for currency; opponents say it will further inflame the game’s pay-to-win image and harm the balance of PvP and economy. MOP readers have snapped screenshots of picketers in the game holding signs accusing the game of being pay-to-win, while Redditors claim players in the EU are entitled to refunds.