2 Articles for 'game'

  1. 2009/03/25 Korean March Madness, and the Nation of Online Games
  2. 2007/11/21 The future of mobile carriers is here. It's called SK Telecom (2)

Korean March Madness, and the Nation of Online Games

Other | 2009/03/25 08:53 | Web 2.0 Asia

Korea has had its own version of March Madness, in the name of World Baseball Classic. Korean team won the silver medal in a close nail-biter against Japan. What a match. 

Now the games are over, and it's not only the players, some of whom have gained great visibility and along with that a better chance to play in the Majors when they become free agents, who have benefited big time from the World Baseball Classic. On the side of the Korean players' helmet was the advertisement of an online game "Magoo Magoo", and the game saw a great traffic surge thanks to that helmet ad.  

"Magoo" (魔球) means "crazyball" in Korean. The online game allows players to recruit real players - so it's the combination of fantasy baseball and online baseball game. The game is already hugely popular among Korean game players, but the helmet ad only added to its popularity: CJ Internet (service provider of Magoo Magoo) says the game saw a traffic growth of up to 220% during the World Baseball Classic. 

The fact that the national baseball team's sponsor was an online game service is something that I can't think of would be the case for other countries, and I think that just about shows how much Koreans embrace online games. 

On a separate note, another recent news about Korean online gaming industry is that AION, the new game from NC Soft, the largest online game service provider in Korea famous for Lineage series, seems to have hit another jackpot for the company. NC Soft is aiming to reach $1bn revenue mark with AION, a feat that the company had already achieved with Lineage. 

Now, the beauty of online games market is that one hit product doesn't necessarily canibalize into the market of another hit product. That means NC Soft is already raking in good money with its Lineage series, and on top of that, there is a fresh influx of revenues from AION. NC Soft's revenue can effectively double - which explains the recent surge of its stock price. 

NC Soft 3-months stock price (from Naver Stock)

TAG game, Korea, online

The future of mobile carriers is here. It's called SK Telecom

Mobile | 2007/11/21 01:17 | Web 2.0 Asia
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SK Telecom is Korea's top wireless carrier. Unlike some of other carriers which resemble ostriches with their heads buried in the sand, SKT had foresight and made acquisitions to place its bets across various multimedia businesses.

SKT companies now include:
  • SK Communications, which runs the ever-popular Cyworld
  • TU media, a DMB (DIgital multimedia broadcasting) service provider
  • Seoul Records (a record label) and Melon.com, Korea's top music download service - So SK telecom is a powerhouse of music industry, both online and off
  • IHQ, a talent agency and management company which has many K-wave stars under its roof
  • Ntreev, an online gaming company
  • Aircross, a mobile solution company
  • YTN Media, a cable channel running Comedy TV and YTN Star
  • Chungeorahm film, a major movie studio
  • Morning 365, an internet bookstore
  • Paxnet, Korea's top finance portal
And now, the company is planning to add Hanaro Telecom, the nation's #2 broadband service provider which also provides fixed telephone and IPTV services, to its army of affiliated companies.

Hanaro acquisition, when goes through, will be of magnitude that's no comparison to other acquisitions SKT has made so far. It will be big - about $1.2 bn big, to be exact. But monetary figures aside, the value Hanaro will be adding to SKT and the overall synergies to be created are what scare the SKT competitors.

So, SKT was smart and prescient enough to realize one day the wireless carriers will turn into "dumb bit pipes". SKT wanted to avoid this fate by diversifying into multimedia businesses, mostly through acquisitions. And they have made some great acquisitions - I mean, who among other wireless carriers have such diversified portfolio, spanning DMB, game, music, movies, entertainment, and even finance - and now poised to take over the broadband and IPTV services as well?

But does it mean SKT has successfully transformed itself from a wireless carrier into something totally different? Is SKT's innovation scale ranked right up there with Googles and Apples? That's a bit hard to say. SKT is still a wireless carrier by DNA, and many times, it shows. SKT doesn't seem to understand the ins and outs of new media business as thoroughly as, let's say, Apple does. Well, if we expect SKT to be as innovative as Apple, it might be a bit of stretch anyway.

All in all, there's no wonder SKT is among very few carriers in the world that know how to think ahead and make the right moves. In that sense, the future of wireless carriers is here, and it's called SK Telecom.

Only that the future of wireless carriers itself, at least for now, doesn't look terribly bright... Rumors like doesn't help so much either.
TAG DMB, game, hanaro, IPTV, Melon, music, SK Telecom, SKT, TU