Korean Gaming: Ever wondered what the metaverse is? So far, the consensus is; a virtual world that can accommodate almost every social aspect of the real world, including its economy and multi-layered relationships.
Based on this, the metaverse is a familiar idea. So many role-playing games, especially MMORPGs(Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games), have already realized the concept of the virtual world in their ways. And this is why so many Korean gaming companies are moving into the metaverse business.
Play Together, Asia’s Second-most Popular Metaverse
Haegin, a Seoul-based start-up founded in 2017, is the company that has been gaining the most success in the Korean metaverse industry. Hagin’s metaverse game ‘Play Together’ has accumulated 130 million downloads globally since its launch in April last year. Its daily active users(DAU) exceeded 4 million earlier this year. According to data analytics firm Sensor Tower, Play Together is the second most-played metaverse game in the Asian and United States market, surpassed only by Roblox.
Haegin created a virtual world by incorporating social features into various mini-games. The users can play, attend classes, shop, and party in its metaverse. Play Together provides easy-to-play games such as running and stealing crowns in which users compete with each other. There are survival games, too; with hot potato, players have to pass the bomb to others and run away in a limited time.
It also has several non-competitive content that users can enjoy the virtual world through their avatar, including camping, cooking and fishing.
Haegin is also expanding the metaverse platform to the entertainment business; Play Together held a few metaverse concerts with Genie Music, a streaming platform under telecom giant KT. The concert marked about 30 hundred thousand concurrent users.
Com2us with 1 Trillion Won Investment
Com2us, one of the more prominent names in Korean game companies, plans to burn up about 1 trillion won (about a 700million USD) to fuel its new metaverse platform that will officially launch in the first quarter of next year.
Com2us started the plan with its subsidiary company ‘Com2verse’ last April. The company would first open office metaverse services for companies and institutions to build a B2B business model. The goal is to expand the commercial services to general users, with its ecosystem, by the third quarter of next year. Com2us will start a pilot operation internally this year.
The vision of the Com2us metaverse can be summed up as ‘reality, but more’. The company wants to build a virtual world that resembles mega-cities in the real world. It even recruited Yoo Hyun-Joon, an architecture professor at Hongik University, as its chief creative officer (CCO). “We want to introduce a new world that is similar to reality, but transcends its limits”, said Song Jae-Joon, CEO of Com2us. Com2us suggests an example; The main character of a superhero film that will be released next month in the real world flies next to the virtual Eiffel Tower to promote the movie in the metaverse world.
The company also plans to issue its own ‘citizenship’ to metaverse platform users to create the structure of a virtual society. The metaverse would have its policy operation and economic system too.
“The only companies that can actualize complete metaverse service are the gaming companies that have been developing 3D MMORPGs”, Song said, “We have technology and infrastructures that can accommodate millions of users. In fact, we’ve already been doing that with our hit series for years.” He also noted most MMORPGs have a ‘decentralized ecosystem’, making them familiar with maintaining their socio-economic structure of the virtual world.
Other gaming giants are joining the race to conquer the virtual world. Krafton recently announced ‘Project Migaloo’, its first plan to make a metaverse service with a create-to-earn(C2E) ecosystem.
Krafton joined with NaverZ, a metaverse company under South Korean internet conglomerate Naver. Krafton will launch a ‘creator-centered virtual space’ named Persistent world. The platform would have a value chain where creators, brands and influencers can make and distribute metaverse content. The project is expected to go live in 2023, first in mobile service and then expanded to PC.
Nexon is developing services that can be used with the metaverse world. One of Nexon’s globally hit games, Maple Story, has over 274 million characters to date, almost the same number as the population of Indonesia. Nexon sees its ‘Project MOD’ as one of the company’s critical services on metaverse business. Project MOD is a development toolkit in which users can make metaverse games, event spaces and other content. Nexon plans to add an e-commerce feature to this toolkit to establish a linkage between the virtual world and the real world.