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Korea Rising: Five Crucial Interviews

January 4, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 9 of 21 Next

Do you have any projection for how the console stuff will do in the west, versus your online efforts? Do you anticipate the console stuff will be bigger, or the online stuff will be bigger in the other markets?

SY: I don't really anticipate anything for that. We just follow...

Just waiting to see what happens?

SY: That's it.

One thing I've been wondering about is that still in the west, there's not a great perception of Korean companies yet. There's not a lot of trust in those companies, which I don't think is justified, but it's there. Right now, if Capcom releases a game, people are like, "Oh, Capcom made it, so I'm going to buy it." But that kind of thing doesn't really exist very much yet for Korean companies. Do you think that's going to change when you release stuff like APB and Huxley? Are people going to be like, "Oh, that's a Webzen game?"

SY: I think they will. There will be a positive impact on us. We're not just pushing our games into another market -- we're trying hard to adapt to your style, and combine those things into our styles and make something new. When this becomes successful, there will definitely be a positive effect.

Huxley is developed in Korea, right? But it's for the western market.

SY: Mm-hmm.

Kind of. It looks very much like a western style. I know you don't work on the project, but how was the thinking, in terms of, "Okay, we're going to make this kind of look and aesthetic, and we're going to make it appeal to the western market without actually being from the western market."

SY: I don't think we especially tried to make it feel like western games. The thing is... those styles are good. They both like it. Wherever you go, they like it. We just have a little bit different approach. Both approaches are good. Wherever they go, they like it. Stuff like Final Fantasy everybody likes. Games like World of Warcraft, even though it is a western game, over here it's huge. Both styles are good. All we do is we don't really try to make it look western. We catch a lot of good things, and they like that stuff. They find good stuff from western games or comic books or whatever, and then we add our good stuff into those games. That's the way we approach.

Even for APB, do you do usability and market testing in each region? Do you change based on that stuff for specific markets, or is it more like, "Okay, we need to make the whole game more accessible in this way."

SY: We try to adapt as much as possible to both markets. Realtime has a strong vision and understanding of the western market already, but a game like APB doesn't really exist in the Eastern market. We did some research, and collected some information, and tried to deliver this into a western-style game.

Is Webzen providing more support for the online systems and all the network stuff? I know they struggled with Crackdown, because they hadn't worked on that kind of stuff before. I think they had to get some help from Microsoft and stuff.

SY: Yeah, we do that.

It makes sense, because Korea's obviously incredibly strong in that kind of stuff.

SY: Realtime had some experience too, at this moment.

Yeah, now they do.

SY: Now they have some experienced staff.

I recently learned that one of the reasons that the creative network staff was so strong in Korea, was because the IT industry started booming around the same time that everything was coming up, and Internet was deregulated. It makes a lot of sense, but I didn't put two and two together to realize that's why it got so much bigger at the time. I think that's probably all I need to say, unless there's any other thing you want to say about Webzen right now.

SY: Webzen... 2008 will be a really important year, financially. We announced big projects at the beginning of 2005, including APB and Huxley, and they're all coming out in 2008. That will be a really good year, and an exciting year for us to watch over this and go to other divisions in the U.S. market and other countries and see what users' reactions and all those things.

People will finally take some vacations.

SY: I hope so! (laughs) The bad thing about online games is that there's no vacations. It just never ends.

Article Start Previous Page 9 of 21 Next

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