Nexon sets sights on 10 new 'super' franchises
Nexon will develop at least 10 new "super-scale" games that can be broadened into other areas and become entertainment franchises.
In order to do that, the game developer pledged to hire at least 1,000 more people by next year, according to the company's CEO Lee Jung-hun at a “Nexon New Project” presentation given online on Thursday.
Nexon referred to the new franchises as intellectual properties (IPs), a term widely used in the game industry to describe a game and its concept, theme, characters or other elements that can be made into other types of entertainment such as films.
Nexon’s short-term goals focus on creating new games and related content, but in the long term, the company wants to communicate more with consumers and give back to society, said Lee, making Nexon “a truly competitive game company that rivals global game companies.
“We are planning to develop more than 10 new super IPs that will make the future of Nexon and make aggressive investments in research to achieve that,” said Lee. “To drive that force, we are going to recruit more than 1,000 new employees by 2022. We are going to start recruiting during the latter half of this year.”
The Korea-founded and Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed company became the first Korean game company to hit 3 trillion won ($2.63 billion) in annual revenue last year, thanks to new mobile games such as Dungeon Fighter Mobile and Kingdom of the Winds: Yeon. The company raised all employees’ annual salaries by 8 million won “to thank them for their dedication,” according to Lee.
“We have thought hard about how we could attract talented people from outside Nexon,” Lee said. “I believe that the game industry has some of the best people in the IT market. The salary raise was also meant to raise awareness of the game industry as a whole.”
He added that the company has made it official this year that “any individual or team that makes a good outcome will be rewarded with a bigger bonus than the CEO.”
Another emphasis for Nexon is paying back to society. Using the keywords “children and coding,” Nexon will expand its existing projects such as the Nexon Youth Programming Challenge, through which it teaches computer coding to children, and nurture the next generation of digital experts.
Seven new games from Nexon and two new games from its subsidiaries were introduced on Thursday. Four large-scale games included PC and mobile massively multiplayer online role-playing game (Mmorpg) Project ER, mobile role-playing game (RPG) Project SF2, a mobile version of Nexon’s popular Mmorpg game Tales Weaver and a close-combat fantasy action PC game Project HP.
Project HP began an early access alpha test on Thursday that will continue through Aug. 8.
Nexon’s subsidiary Nat Games will release Project Magnum, a PC and console looter shooter genre game and Dev Cat will release Mabinogi Mobile.
Three other games were introduced under a new game brand that Nexon introduced for the first time on Thursday dubbed Project Early Stage. Through Project Early Stage, Nexon will allow players to try out new games at every early stage of a game’s development. If players don’t like it, they’ll abort the game's development and move on to a new one.
“We are quite nervous about this new system,” said Lee. “We used to reveal games only when they had achieved a certain level of quality in the past, but we came to the conclusion that was not truly communicating with our users. We think this will be the beginning of open communication with consumers and so we ask for users’ honest opinions if they think a game is too under-developed.”
Nexon made headlines in 2019 when its founder and CEO Kim Jung-ju tried to sell his company. Companies such as Netmarble, Kakao and Disney were mentioned as potential buyers, but Kim backed out.
“The past few years have been quite turbulent for Nexon, both within and outside the company,” Lee said. “But I truly believe it made us face things we had refused to about the company, and the management improved. Since then, we have been putting our brainpower together so that Nexon becomes a globally competitive game company.”
On July 16, Nexon announced that it will base a new division in Los Angeles that will focus on expanding Nexon’s IPs into film and television programs. Nick Van Dyk, the new Senior Vice President and chief strategy officer, will lead the division.
BY YOON SO-YEON [email@example.com]