4:33 gets new titles, collaborative platform

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4:33 gets new titles, collaborative platform

4:33, a mobile gaming startup with investment from the likes of Tencent and Line, announced it will further expand by launching a platform to improve collaboration with its partners and releasing a slew of new games in the face of stiff competition from mobile game studios.

The company said Tuesday that it will introduce a total of 18 new games this year including role playing games (RPG) Lost Kingdom, Open Fire and the action shooter Mafia. Some of the releases are developed by partner companies while others are 4:33’s own content.

“Of the 18 new titles, most of them will be released outside of Korea as well,” said So Tae-hwan, CEO of 4:33.

The move is a part of the game studio’s efforts to produce successful follow ups to its previous hits such as the hack and slash games Blade and Hero. The company reported disappointing performances last year due to a lack of new blockbusters.

As for the collaborative platform, 4:33 will establish a web portal to facilitate cooperation among the company’s development partners and subsidiaries.

Under the “4:33 United” system, more than 20 smaller game developers will share their knowledge and undertake different projects. 4:33 will finance the platform and provide technological and marketing support.

The CEO expects the platform to foster a more horizontal relationship between game publishers and developers and generate more creative content.

“Publishers typically give orders to developers, and developing companies follow,” So said. “This is not an ideal way of communication especially for game companies, which require a free flow of ideas and creative thought.”

In line with the effort, 4:33 has formed different types of partnerships with smaller game companies through investment and joint ventures.

The gaming startup invested over 70 billion won ($57,640) in 24 game studios both at home and abroad, including local players Factorial Games and L&K Logic Korea, as well as Los Angeles-based Section Studios.

The company also established two joint ventures with online game developing companies CCR and DreamExecution.

The CEO said that the startup will be focused on promoting the upcoming releases in Korea and introducing its hit games abroad.

Lost Kingdom is due for release on Feb 25, with Open Fire following sometime in March.

Powered by the hyper-realistic Unreal Engine 4, Open Fire offers vivid visual effects.

4:33’s trademark hit Blade: Sword of Elysion has made inroads into Japan, while Hero will break into Thailand through a partnership with a publisher in the country.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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