Seoul-based publisher Webzen (MU Online, Huxley) announced its acquisition of Metin2 developer Ymir Entertainment, and its global expansion strategy for Europe.
Founded in 1999 and also based in Seoul, Ymir has created titles like Inferna, Metin, and Metin2, the last of which is localized in 18 different languages and available in Europe, China, Japan, Brazil, and the Middle East. German publisher Gameforge operates Metin2 in Europe, where it has seen seven million concurrent active users.
WIth this purchase, Webzen says it will take advantage of its newly expanded catalog to further grow its footprint in the global market and create new games based on Ymir's properties. The company intends to "synergize and expand its global business unit with Gameforge" and raise its brand awareness in Europe.
Webzen's previous global strategy included the 2005 opening of a North American branch in Los Angeles, but the firm closed that office four years later. It also has branches in Taiwan and China, and partnerships with NHN USA, The9, Game On (Japan), FPT Telecom (Vietnam), and Digital Media Exchange (Philippines).
The publisher's free-to-play titles include Soul of the Ultimate Nation, Huxley, and medieval fantasy Mu Online, which has over 56 million registered users. It is also set to release Firefall, a free-to-play team-based online shooter developed by Irvine-headquartered Red 5 Studios, some time late this year.
"Asia has been the center of the online gaming industry, but we expect great growth from the European market in the near future," says Webzen CEO Chang Keun Kim. "This merger and acquisition with Ymir Entertainment means the start of Global Webzen, expanding through various strategies with global line-ups in Europe."
Kim adds, "We will be reborn as the Global Webzen. This is a new beginning, a new opportunity for us.