3 Articles for 'NC SOFT'

  1. 2008/11/05 Korea's leading games company... turning into a family business? (4)
  2. 2007/11/22 Naver domination under pressure (4)
  3. 2007/11/20 Rollinglist.com brings people around shared lists

Korea's leading games company... turning into a family business?

Other | 2008/11/05 14:38 | Web 2.0 Asia

Songyee Yoon is little known outside of Korea, but she's quite a figure in the nation. She became the youngest VP at SK Telecom, a huge telco, at a mere age of 28. This was after getting her PhD from MIT at 24 and working at McKinsey. (Hey, what the heck was I doing at 24?)

Think of her as Korea's Marissa Mayer - the two share many traits such as being smart, good looking, and being on the fast lane at a successful tech company. 

Now, add to that "having dated with a founder of a $1bn+ company" - Marissa with Larry, Songyee with NC Soft founder/CEO TJ Kim. (NC Soft is Korea's leading online games company, famous for its Lineage online MMORPG games.) Perhaps a difference there is that Songyee eventually got the ring, while Marissa didn't yet. (Songyee and TJ Kim got married in fall last year.)

With the inks on their nuptual agreements barely dry, Yoon is coming on board at her husband's company, NC Soft, as Chief Strategy Officer. Yoon has thick grey matters, no doubt about it, but I don't know if NC Soft and Yoon, whose specialty lies in artificial intelligence, can be the best fit. Besides, Yoon's joining the company essentailly makes NC Soft a family business (doesn't it?), and I don't think I have seen that many successful internet companies that are essentially family businesses. 

I'm just hoping the couple, both super smart, will let the creativities of other NC-ers blossom as well as flexing their own creative muscles. Last thing they want is to create two hurdles to overcome/convince, instead of just one.
TAG NC SOFT, SK Telecom, Songyee Yoon

Naver domination under pressure

Web 2.0 | 2007/11/22 12:44 | Web 2.0 Asia
Mr TJ Kim, the CEO of NC Soft, said yesterday that the market domination and walled-garden business model of Korean portals are stifling innovations in the Korean internet industry. In other words, Naver is so dominating across so many different areas, and at the same time keeping its "all data in, no data out" strategy, and therefore small startups are left with little business opportunities.

NC Soft is, as I described in my previous post, an online game powerhouse famous for its Lineage games and is recently pushing out "open web" based new services through its Openmaru subsidiary.

It looks like the internet services market is getting increasingly consolidated, in other countries like Japan and China as well as in Korea, as the whole industry gets more and more commoditized. The startup people I know in Japan always say the same things as Korean internet entrepreneurs do - such as "The entire market is in the hands of Yahoo and Rakuten, and there's nothing left" or "There should be more internet startup entrepreneurs in Japan, but the window of opportunity for internet startups is not very wide, with the market uptake of new internet services being low." China seems to be a bit of different story and startup actions there seem more bustling, but the overall market share of big players like QQ seem to be increasing in China too.

So perhaps we can't just blame the increasing market domination of big portal players, as the market consolidation around the "Big 3" might be the natural path of evolution for the internet industry, as it was for other industries such as car manufacturing, personal computers, or arguably all other industries.

Yes, the domination itself might be both "natural" and even worth some credit, but what about the openness?

That indeed is clearly an issue. Time and again, it's been proven many times that, in the internet industry, open is a much better model than closed - in both ethical and practical terms. Umair Haque probably said "open beats closed" about 34,879 times, and although I don't agree him all the time, I'm with him on that premise 100%. Who holds the biggest market share in the server software market, between open source and a single company with a walled garden model?

So, to conclude, Naver is evil - But it's not the company's bigness that makes it evil (bigness and market domination is part of the industry evolution so it's neither harmful nor unnatural), it's only the closeness that makes it evil. Someone will have to do something about it.
TAG Korea, Naver, NC SOFT, TJ Kim
Openmaru is a company best known for its wiki solution, Springnote, which was recently featured on Read/write web.

Openmaru is actually a subsidiary of NC Soft, the company behind the massively popular Lineage game. For those of you who don't play games, Lineage is the world's second most popular online game, only behind World of Warcraft.

NC Soft, though hugely popular in gaming industry, probably wanted to dabble at other areas of web service, so the company has set up an independent biz unit - hence the beginning of Openmaru. NC Soft has pretty deep pocket anyway.

As well as Springnote, Openmaru is churning out interesting web apps. One of such apps is Rolling List. Rolling List, in essence, is something similar to 43things.com, where someone starts a conversation thread and others chime in with their own entries, thereby creating social network around a specific topic or "list".

With Rolling List, for example, a user can start a conversation titled "Things to make sure about before having her in your room", where others can add "lists" such as: "Clean up the space but don't be too clean and make yourself look like a germ freak", "Get rid of your porn DVDs", "Get some munch-ons ready", etc. The service has social networking elements - for example, the people who participated in the same list can view others' profile.

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Services like Rolling List has a certain appeal as people naturally like to have conversations around a single topic and share differnet views/opinions. Looks like Openmaru is poised to introduce many more interesting web apps down the road. I'll take them for a spin and share the experience here.