Korea Rising: Five Crucial Interviews
January 4, 2008 Page 18 of 21
Com2Us: Ji Young Park, president
Can you give a bit of your company's background and history?
Ji Young Park: The company was founded in 1998. At first, we were not a mobile game company, but we started developing mobile games since '99. We were the first company who started to service mobile games in Korea. Certainly at the time, it's a really early stage. Few Japanese and Korean companies try to service mobile games. We were one of the first companies to develop Java games for the phone, and the game was showed when Sun Microsystems introduced the Java system.
We now license mobile games in Korea, and we also are servicing our games through our global network over employee carriers. Also our game library is almost over 80 titles, over eight years. We're now focusing on making the handset to a real game platform, so we make the creative titles designed for handsets. Even though users download mobile games, they can play over three hours. If they want to keep those games on the handset for whenever they want to play it, they can play it. Last year, we launched a mobile MMORPG. Many people log on through the mobile and play with each other.
Is that only in Korea right now?
JP: Right now, it's only in Korea. Over 10,000 people are playing this game, and we're upgrading. When they log into the game, they check on the current version, and if there is an upgrade, then they push down the upgrade files on the handsets. Those kinds of mechanisms...
Don Lim, general manager: Such as adding more maps. It's a regular MMORPG based on a mobile.
JP: They make guilds in the game, and then groups play together. Also, Mini Game Pack was our number one downloaded titles. Mini Game Pack 1 and 2 combined generated five million downloads in Korea. Five million downloads is like megahit film sales. Now we're persuading the market that mobile games can be a hit content, and the messenger can be a content conveyor to the users.
What did you do before? You founded the company. What did you do before that?
JP: Before that, at first, in '99, we were a private company. At the time, we were just university students. We wanted to [release an] MP3 player at the time. It was just an idea, so to make that real, we needed money. We started to find out how we can make money, so from that time...
So you wanted to create one?
JP: Yeah, create. At that time, there were no [players]. At that time, it was really only staged for the Internet. There was no business in mobile in the internet. So we started a BBS, and we started to service content. We shared the information about computer hardware, and when they see the contents, then we charge them. Also, we started service through hardware and video game information services.
After that, we found out that the information service is really hard to earn money, so we knew that there would be a new Internet system for the handset. At the time, PC Internet was all free, but with handsets, people recognized that it was not free. I think we can try something through handsets... if the Internet in handsets becomes popular, people will potentially like the games. That's why we started mobile games.
How large was the company when you started at that scale?
JP: Only three people, started with a donation of $5,000. I lent them money from my father.
So who designed the first games?
JP: We really kept together and had an idea about which kind of game can be possible. At the time, the platform was just a web browser, so it was like a character raiser like Tamagotchi, or fortunetelling. The first RPG on the WAP platform we launched in 2000. At first, it was fortunetelling, but in a year, we launched an RPG.
Page 18 of 21