[Gamasutra rounds up the week's biggest reports on South Korea's booming online games market from This Is Game, the leading English-language site about the country's game industry.]
In our latest round-up of news from South Korea's online games space, we look at a trio of upcoming online baseball games, NHN's new MMO Dungeon Striker, and more.
Non-casual mobile games to grow big in Korea in 2012
Jae-jun Song, vice president of mobile game developer Gamevil, says that non-casual titles for smartphones will become a major trend for mobile devices in 2012, as more of them are introduced and more players begin appreciating them this year.
"Normally when a new platform comes up, casual games become popular in the beginning," said Song during his keynote speech at the 2012 Smart and Social Game Part show in Seoul. "However, if the platform matures, non-casual games increase gradually."
He adds, "Since non-casual game have a high ARPU [average revenue per user], we think they will become a main trend for 2012." He also said that free-to-play mobile titles will become big, as the company now makes 71 percent of its total revenues from in-game purchases, compared to 43 percent in 2010.
Battle of online baseball games
Three different South Korean companies are preparing large online baseball games that will release soon, including NCsoft's MVP Baseball Online (developed with EA Korea Seoul Studio), Nexon's 2K Baseball Online (developed with 2K Sports), and CJ E&M's MAGU The Real.
MAGU The Real, which is built on Unreal Engine 3, will release later this year. 2K Baseball ONline and MVP Baseball Online are both expected to release some time in 2013. All of the titles will presumably feature the Korean Baseball Organization license.
Interestingly, NCsoft sponsors a professional KBO baseball team called NC Dinosaur, while Nexon sponsors Lotte Giants -- the two groups, representing their respective virtual baseball game publishers, will eventually play against each other in a real baseball game.
NHN announces Dungeon Striker
NHN announced that it will publish Dungeon Striker, a new action MMORPG from EYEdentity Games, the developer behind popular online title Dragon Nest. Desrt Striker will begin its open beta test on April 27 through NHN's online game portal Hangame.
The game is designed to appeal to a broad audience, promising a simple control system, limited class options, an unlimited clas transferring system, and sped up combat that allows characters to hit each other 10 times per second.
[This story was written with permission using material from ThisIsGame Global, the leading English-language site about the South Korean game industry.]