Cyworld to launch App store

Web 2.0 | 2009/07/08 16:52 | Web 2.0 Asia

Similarly to Facebook, iPhone, and Mixi, Cyworld is also launching (link in Korean) its own version of app store. Earlier, Cyworld had announced plan to support Google's Open Social. Third party application developers will soon be able to write apps that can run on Cyworld Minihompies and submit those apps through "Dev.Square", Cyworld's developer network. Apps will be able to leverage Cyworld's user data and social graph. 

Then the apps will be listed on and sold at Cyworld App Store. Consumed applications will be displayed in the user's Minihompy profile or as a post entry. 

Users will be able to recommend Cyworld applications to Cyworld friends (1-chons), whether or not they are actually using such apps. Through Open Social activity stream, other users will receive feeds of their friends' newest apps. 

Interestingly, Cyworld will only allow free-to-use apps initially. However, that doesn't mean app developers won't be able to monetize off of their apps. Cyworld will allow pay-as-you-go, or "freemium", monetization model (e.g. a game should be freely distributed, but virtual items can be sold within the game). Cyworld will share the incurred revenue 70:30, 70 for app developers. Developers would have much preferred a paid app store, but the "free apps" policy may lead to a wider initial adoption of the apps anyway. 

For those who are familiar with Facebook and iPhone app stores, nothing much in the Cyworld app store plan jumps to the eye. It all sounds familiar, which actually makes one wonder why it took this long for Cyworld to build its app store. 

Also, like other social networks embracing Open Social, Cyworld is focusing entirely on getting apps onto its container site ("Out=>In", so to speak), while not supporting external apps to import Cyworld social data ("In=>Out"). Later case might lead to many more interesting opportunities (imagine finding your Cyworld buddy's Wishlist right on an online bookstore), but in defense of Cyworld, other social networks are also much more sheepish about exporting their social graph out, as opposed to enriching apps and thereby drawing more users to their own sites. Stay tuned for more updates about Cyworld App store.