In gaming, pragmatism rules

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In gaming, pragmatism rules

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NHN’s Hangame has begun providing its mobile game Wooparoo Mountain through Kakao’s messenger app Kakao Talk.

It introduced the game through Kakao Talk instead of its own mobile messenger app, Line.

Naver rival Daum Communications also has been sleeping with the enemy. Daum recently made Ramen Story, a social game developed by a subsidiary of NHN’s Hangame, as the first game of the year at Daum Mobage, Daum’s new mobile game service. It has been popular in Japan, where it was released last year.

As the latecomer in the mobile game market, Daum is seeking the best talent and resources regardless of where they come from.

In the IT industry, the trend has been toward pragmatism, where a service created by a subsidiary company is no longer only open to its parent company and off-limits to competitors.

In the words of the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping: “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.”

This new pragmatism is the result of intense competition in the mobile market, where market shares can fluctuate greatly and often.

The game company Wemade Entertainment also came up with the “black cat-white cat” theory. Wemade holds 5.8 percent of shares in Kakao after investing 5 billion won ($4.6 million) in the company in 2011 and 20 billion won last year.

Wemade introduced its Candy Pang and WindRunner games through Kakao Talk, and they surpassed 10 million users in a short period of time.

However, the company also started doing business with Kakao Talk’s rival, Line. Last September, it signed a strategic alliance for partnership with NHN Japan in the Japanese game market.

As the initial service, it decided to introduce its own Chaos & Defense game through Line in the Japanese market.

The big companies are also moving. NHN, the country’s largest internet operator, accounting for 70 percent of domestic portal site utilization, teamed up with SK Telecom, Korea’s largest mobile carrier in November.

They are aiming to combine their accumulated information from the Internet and telecommunications to foster big data business and introduce new services.

In order to realize that goal, the two companies also created a joint project group to exchange employees and technologies.

Mergers and acquisitions between IT companies have also become commonplace.

“We have acquired a 100 percent stake in Dialoid, a voice recognition technology startup,” said a spokesman for Daum last Thursday.

Dialoid was founded by four voice search professionals from NHN’s technology research team.

Kakao recently acquired the social network service venture Sunny Loft, established by SK Telecommunications.

At the T store, SK Telecom’s content marketplace, the number of customers who subscribe to KT and LG U+ exceeded 3 million as of Monday.

T Store, which served as the symbol of SK Telecom’s mobile service, opened in September 2009 and used to be available only to SK Telecom’s subscribers.

However, as the mobile communications market became saturated, growth slowed and it opened to subscribers of other mobile carriers. T store now has 19 million subscribers.

KT also opened its content marketplace, Olleh Market, to subscribers of other mobile carriers.


By Shim Seo-hyun [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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