[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 Rappelz
' worldwide expansion, WeMade's $4.6 million investment in mobile messenger service Kakao, and KTH and Sega's Football Manager Online
Rappelz Nearing 5 Million Users Worldwide
In an interview with This is Game, Gala Lab said Rappelz
(published by gPotato in the U.S./Europe) currently has 4.8 million registered users, and is attracting over 50,000 players every month. The free-to-play MMORPG is available in 13 different languages across 59 countries.
The developer's SeYoung Park claimed Rappelz
is one of the most popular MMO in the Middle Eastern/African market, where it worked with local publisher Game Power 7 to build a new payment billing system for the free-to-play model, minimize female nudity, and remove religious items.
Park discussed other international efforts, like collaborating with Russian publisher NIKITA.Online to develop country-specific quests for Rappelz
-- if these become popular in that region, the developer will create similar quests for other countries, too.
She also pointed out an unexpected variable for Russia -- on sunny days in the infamously cold country, people tend to play outside, and Rappelz
' concurrent user count drops by almost 30 percent. Gala is looking into how to address this issue.
Gala Lab is currently planning to launch closed beta tests for Rappelz
in emerging markets like South America and Indonesia this month.
Sega's Football Manager Coming Soon To Korea
Gaming portal KTH revealed Football Manager Online
, the long-running soccer team management simulation from British developer Sports Interactive Limited and parent company Sega, will release in South Korea soon, starting with a closed beta test launching this fall.
KTH is co-developing the title with Sports Interactive -- the latter announced in 2010 that it's team size doubled to handle the project. At a media event late last week, KTH showed off the title for the first time and mentioned mobile/smartphone connectivity for the game.
"As this is an important project that worldwide gaming industries are paying attention to, we three partners will devote ourselves to introducing a stable service [with Football Manager Online
]," said KTH's game business director JiHoon Hong.
WeMade Invests $4.6M In Mobile Messenger Service
As Seoul-based mobile messenger service Kakao recently issued shares worth $19 million recently, online game developer and operator WeMade Entertainment (Legend of Mir
series) purchased around $4.6 million of those shares.
WeMade says this partnership will allow its mobile/social division WeMade Creative to integrate its offerings into Kakao's free and popular iOS/Android chat app KakaoTalk. Starting next month, KakaoTalk will offer WeMade Creative's games to its users.
"WeMade and Kakao are pursuing the kind of social network power that Facebook and Zynga have shown," said WeMade VP NamChul Kim. "By providing a strong smartphone game lineup with WeMade Creative, we will do our best to make an innovative example of changing the paradgm of the global market."
[This story was written with the permission of, and using material from ThisIsGame Global, the leading English-language site about the South Korean game industry.]