The Financial Times blog has a doom-and-gloom report out this week on the gaming market of South Korea, specifically the MMO genre.
“The country’s online game makers have long dominated the global market for massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) but have lost their edge as gamers have increasingly embraced playing on their smartphones,” writes author Song Jung-a in a piece suggesting online games studios in the region are “facing a crisis” in part because giants like NCsoft and Nexon shifted attention to mobile — unsuccessfully.
A lack of mobile isn’t the only problem, either; it’s also the focus hardcore MMORPGs Korea is known for. “Analysts say South Korean companies have focused too much on graphics-heavy role-playing online battle games that are now losing their appeal among gamers, overshadowed by simpler, more speedily paced offerings,” Song writes, contrasting the success of U.S.-born Overwatch and League of Legends with NCsoft’s last “big new online title” Blade & Soul in 2012 and Nexon’s MapleStory 2.
“The heyday of South Korean games exports due to development and monetisation expertise is now over,” an IHS Markit researcher is quoted as saying. “China has a mature domestic industry and western games companies now produce very popular freemium PC games.”